A direction home: Bob Dylan album returned 48 years late

In this photo provided by Heights Libraries, Sara Phillips, a branch manager with Heights Libraries in Ohio, holds the Bob Dylan double album “Self Portrait” borrowed in 1973 by eighth-grader Howard Simon he returned recently 48 years overdue. (Heights Libraries via AP)

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — After nearly five decades of blowin’ in the wind, a double Bob Dylan album finally has a direction home: A man living in San Francisco has mailed the vinyl back to an Ohio library 48 years after it was supposed to be returned.

Howard Simon recently sent the album along with a letter to Heights Libraries apologizing for his tardiness, according to a news release from the library system outside Cleveland.

Simon checked out Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album in 1973 as an eighth-grader at a University Heights middle school. Simon says he found it between two other Dylan albums in his personal vinyl collection.

“As a recent retiree, I am taking the opportunity to turn my attention to some of the many vignettes of life that by dint of career and family have been neglected these many years,” Simon wrote. “I am returning with the letter an overdue item by my count, approximately 17,480 days overdue as of this writing.”

His letter says the album cover is a little battered after traveling with him from University Heights to San Francisco with various stops in between, but the library says the records themselves remain in “great shape.”

Simon also sent the library a $175 replacement fee for “Self Portrait” along with an album he recorded, “Western Reserve,” for possible inclusion in the library’s collection.

The library bore no hard feelings, or sense that Simon wasted their precious time, essentially telling him in the press release don’t think twice; it’s all right.

“The funny thing about this is that we don’t charge overdue fines anymore–as long as we get the item back, we see no need to penalize people,” branch manager Sara Phillips was quoted as saying. “We’re grateful that Mr. Simon returned the record. I’d said we can now call it even.”

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This story has been updated to remove the age of Howard Simon. His age cannot be determined.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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