One very astounded library worker made an unusual find while checking donated books at the Porter County Public Library in Valparaiso, Indiana–an antiquated black powder handgun had been stored in the hollowed-out center of a copy of the 1998 novel Outerbridge Reach by Robert Stone.

“Somebody just opened it up and said, ‘Oh my,'” said Porter County Public Library Assistant Director Phyllis Nelson to The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The library immediately turned it over to the Valparaiso Police Department, which is temporarily holding the gun before it is cleared to be destroyed, said Sgt. Michael Grennes, public information officer with the department. Police are not sure whether the gun is an original or a replica, although a report by the Daily Mail suggests that the A.S.M. (Armi san Marco) pistol could be worth $175 if it is in mint condition.

The gun is a .31-caliber, single shot, black powder gun. Police have determined that the gun was not stolen, although it’s impossible to track down the person who donated the book with the gun inside. The library receives hundreds of anonymous book donations a month and it does not record when a certain book is dropped off.

Library Assistant Director Nelson said this is actually not the first time a gun has been found at the Valparaiso branch library. She had heard the story of another gun found there before her 12-year tenure. Needless to say, firearm owners who like to keep a back up black powder gun hidden in their reading rooms might want to double check their next donation to the local library!

Image courtesy of Valparaiso Police Department

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