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Library Book Returned 55 Years Late

Overdue library book returned after 55 years with a $100 check.

One of the appealing things about e-books is that you never have to worry about returning those pesky library books again. Because in my family, library books rarely make it back to their home shelves on time.

A book was returned late to a New York public library branch on Monday. The book was 55 years late. Not days — years. That’s a really, really big late fee. And in case you’re wondering, the person who returned it anonymously included a check for $100 — presumably to cover the late 55-years-late fee.

The book, Fire of Francis Xavier, was returned the the Fort Washington branch of the NY public library. The last check out date stamped in the book’s cover was April 10, 1958, according to the library system’s relations manager Amy Geduldig.

The extremely late book arrived in the mail with a $100 check inside. There was no note inside the package, and the library won’t say who’s signature was on the check.

“The check is a very kind gesture,” Geduldig said.

Perhaps the book itself prompted the kind returner to include the money. Written by the Reverand Arthur R. McGratty, S.J., the book is about St. Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuits and one of the Catholic church’s most traveled missionaries.

So what is the late fee for a book 55 years overdue? With the standard 55-cents-a-day policy: $5,018.75.

Geduldig, however, notes that the maximum fine for a late item would be the cost to replace the item. The $100, therefore, satisfies any debt incurred over the book’s long time away from home.

Believe it or not, 55 years isn’t even the record for an overdue-book return. Last September, a book 78 years overdue was returned to a Chicago library.

Would you return a library book after 55 years?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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