Library Book Returned 76 Years Late, Librarian Waives Late Fees
The U.K.'s Keighley Library waived an enormous fine after a book was returned to their shelves 76 years late.
Charlie Studdy was cleaning up some bookshelves at his home when he discovered a book he didn't recognize: This Way To The Tomb, a play by Ronald Duncan.
Unfamiliar with the hardback, Studdy thumbed through the pages to discover that the book was actually on loan from the library and had most likely been checked out by his late mother.
Studdy then noticed the return-by date: July 17, 1946.
According to Newsweek, Studdy's mother was an avid reader, though it would have been "out of character" for his mom to not return a borrowed book on time.
"I didn't recognize it, and so I believe it came from my mother's house after we cleared it out when she passed away nine years ago," Studdy shared.
Studdy's mother "loved books all the way through her life."
"It's likely that it was borrowed from the library when she returned home from university for the holidays and forgot to take it back," he continued, adding that his mom "wasn't in a university drama group as far as I know, but she was a very wide and enthusiastic reader, so it's not surprising she had a copy."
When Studdy contacted the library to make arrangements to return the long-overdue book, the staff discovered the late fees had racked up to the equivalent of a staggering $4,351.50.
Thankfully, Keighley Library and Local Studies in Bradford waived the fines and were simply thrilled to have the book returned.
"This is such a lovely story, and it's great to see the book being returned. It is now on display at our Keighley Library," Sarah Ferriby of the Bradford Council told Newsweek.
"We have operated several 'fines amnesties' during the pandemic to encourage readers to bring back their overdue books; however, 76 years is somewhat of a record for our libraries," she continued.
"We obviously wouldn't charge Mr. Studdy for his mother's overdue book, and readers can rest assured we would never charge more than the book is worth, however late it is!" she added.
The library's record-breaking overdue book is now on exhibit inside the library, which is also celebrating its 150th anniversary.