Thursday 23 May 2019

Library book returned 84 years after its due date

The copy of Spoon River Anthology was taken out in 1934 but the returner fortunately escaped a 1,542.55 dollar fine.

(Shreve Memorial Library/Facebook)
(Shreve Memorial Library/Facebook)

By Edd Dracott and Max McLean, Press Association

Whether through forgetfulness or amongst the stresses of an educational assignment, most of us have returned a library book a little late – but how about 84 years after its due date?

That’s exactly what has happened at Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana, after a patron returned a book his mother had taken out in 1934.

(Shreve Memorial Library/Facebook)

After so long the fine for the copy of Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters would have amounted to 1,542.55 US dollars (£1184.99) – at a rate of 0.05 dollars per day, which has not changed since the book was taken out.

Fortunately for the patron, the library’s fines are capped at 3 dollars (£2.30) and in this case the fee was waived.

(Shreve Memorial Library/Facebook)

The patron found his mother’s rented book whilst cleaning out his parents’ home.

“He thought the library might appreciate having it back,” Jackie Morales, the library’s assistant manager, told the Press Association. “This is certainly the oldest overdue book that I’m aware of.

“It’s a helpful reminder that it’s never too late to return your overdue items. The library will always be happy to have them back.”

Shreve Memorial Library was opened in 1923, 11 years before the patron’s mother took the book out – herself aged 11 at the time.

(Shreve Memorial Library/Facebook)

The book is a first edition published in 1915 and eerily contains a rather dark collection of poems.

“The poems are told in the first person from the perspective of a deceased person in the Spoon River cemetery,” said Jackie. “The characters reflect upon their lives and deaths and collectively create a portrait of the fictitious town and its former residents.

“I think it’s interesting that we received this book in time for Halloween.”

Press Association

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