Overdue library books are returned every day, but it’s not every day that the book was checked out 78 years before. A Chicago-area woman returned an overdue copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray to the Chicago Public Library during their amnesty program.
So, why did Harlean Hoffman Vision wait until now to return the Wilde novel? Because the book, a rare limited edition print, was originally checked out in 1934 and Vision was afraid of the massive late fee she could face, reports Reuters.
Vision found the book in her late mother’s possessions, complete with the Chicago Public Library stamp. Not wanting to risk atrocious fines or even jail time, the woman kept the book, until the CPL began a rare three-week long amnesty program for overdue items.
Ruth Lednicer, the library’s marketing director, said that the book was returned on Thursday. Lednicer stated:
“She kept saying, ‘You’re not going to arrest me?’ and we said, ‘No, we’re so happy you brought it back.'”
According to The Huffington Post, Vision’s mother, Sylvia Hoffman, had somehow gotten the book from a childhood friend. The Oscar Wilde novel is one of just 480 special-edition copies printed by London’s Edinburgh Society. After almost 20 years, Vision returned the book to the library, hoping that the library would waive the anticipated fine.
If it weren’t for the amnesty, along with the library’s $10 cap on overdue book fines, Harlean Hoffman Vision would have owed the library $6,000.
Earlier this year, a book overdue 80 years was returned to a library in Ireland. The book had a massive $5,000 late fee, but the library opted to waive it.
What’s the most you have ever paid for an overdue library book?