I came across an article on last Wednesday about a woman who recently returned a children’s book to the library in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here’s the kicker…
It was 73 years overdue!
Can you imagine the late fees on that? Luckily enough for her, the library system had eliminated fines on children’s books years before.
Mora Gregg found the book, The Postman, when cleaning her apartment in Toronto. Inside was a stamp reading “Property of Silver Spring Library.” She thinks her mother checked it out for her when she was a toddler and accidentally packed it when they left Maryland for Canada. She kept it for so long because it was the book that had sparked her love of reading.
Ironically, Miss Mora was a retired librarian…
But Mora Gregg is hardly the record holder for long overdue books, as I discovered when perusing the interwebs.
In September of 2017, a copy of The Young Lady at Home by T.S. Arthur was returned to the Attleboro Public Library in Massachusetts. A man found it while helping a friend clean out his basement. He recognized the library’s stamp and then noticed the due date: 21 November 1938. A little shy of 79 years overdue. Total fine? About $2800, which the library didn’t enforce.
George Washington’s descendants could be on the hook for a hefty fine. Five months into his first term as president, He borrowed the legal manifesto The Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel from the New York Society Library. For 221 years, it remained at the historic Virginia room. Finally, in 2010, the Mount Vernon staff sent it back. The late fee? $300,000, also not enforced.
I think this next story may be my favorite. A man came across a copy of an old field guide, The Real Book About Snakes by Jane Sherman. He sent the book back to the Champaign County Library in Urbana, Ohio when he realized it was 41 years overdue. He sent a note along with it.
Sorry I’ve kept this book so long, but I’m a really slow reader! I’ve enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies!
Undisclosed man for the win!
The moral of the story… turn in your library books, or live in infamy!