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Levittown Author Returns Overdue Book to Library

It only took Steve Bergsman 46 years

Some may think it sacrilege to harbor stolen property, including books from a library for more than 46 years, but that is exactly the offense that has been gnawing at the good conscience of established financial and real estate author Steve Bergsman.

In 1967, Bergsman graduated from Island Trees High School. Although the school never asked for the book, The History of the United States of America, c. 1904, before Bergsman graduated, he knew it was overdue. 

Island Trees High School Librarian Lisa Marshall was waiting in the school’s library with open arms for the pre-arranged return. Bergsman apologized and hoped all was forgiven. Marshall said this was a rare occurrence for their library, that all books are normally returned, but she thinks Bergsman was “probably just being rebellious.” Bergsman laughed, agreeing and said he really did not know why he never returned it. He recalls checking the book out of the library in 1966 for a book report or some assignment that he needed information for, but since his “favorite courses in high school were history courses,” he probably kept the book for some leisurely reading.

Marshall asked whether he remembered ever paying for it before graduation. The ITHS policy is if a book is checked out to a student, and found missing by the end of the school year, a student is required to pay for the replacement of the book before being issued a diploma. Bergsman does not recall having to pay for the book. Marshall said, although less than five books on average are never returned each year; the school does not apply fines.

The Levittown Tribune asked Bergsman whether the school’s library would carry a copy of his own latest published book, Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis. He hesitated, thinking of the polite way to say, “I don’t know if it’s really appropriate...it’s borderline,” in its appropriateness for a high school audience.

In August 2011, the Levittown Tribune shared the news of Bergsman’s book released in e-book format. It’s fun and a comprehensive collection of all things that made growing up in Levittown in its earliest years, some of the most entertaining. And evidence of Bergsman’s love for history, this book serves as a great way to stir anyone’s memories of Levittown in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

The book is now available in print through book retailers and online at Amazon.com. Bergsman said after e-publishing his recollections of growing up in Levittown, many readers contacted him with minor detail changes, mostly directions, store names, etc. He realized the demographics of his potential readers have not converted to an e-format, “baby boomers, we haven’t crossed over to the electronic yet,” prompting him to publish his memoir in printed format.

He moved to Levittown as a tot in 1954 with his parents, Gilbert and Beatrice, and sister Barbara. He attended Farmedge and Geneva N. Gallow elementary schools, and then to Island Trees junior and senior high schools.

Bergsman is a nationally recognized financial, real estate, and travel writer. For more than 25 years, he has contributed to a wide range of magazines, newspapers and wire services, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal Sunday, Global Finance, Executive Decision, Chief Executive, The Australian, Investment Dealer’s Digest, Reuters News Service and Copley News Service.

He has been a regular contributor to the “Ground Floor” real estate column in Barron’s and has written for all of the leading real estate industry publications, including National Real Estate Investor, Institutional Real Estate Letter, Retail Traffic, Multifamily Trends, Real Estate Portfolio, Shopping Center World, Mortgage Banking and Urban Land. He currently writes a weekly column for the real estate news service Inman News.

Including Growing Up Levittown, Bergsman has published five books. After The Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade has been ranked a No. 1 best-selling real estate investment book on Kindle (Amazon.com).