A library in Newcastle, UK recently accepted a library book that was sixty-three years overdue. The book in question: a 1954 first edition copy of How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. It even came with a note that reads ” better late than never!”
The elusive book was returned by an anonymous patron to Newcastle City Library. Upon inspection, the library staff realized that the book was actually from Fenham Libary—a town ten minutes away—and was due on November 25, 1958. The rate for late library books is 15p a day, which means that in over six decades, the book built up £3,500 in library fines.
Luckily, many libraries lifted late fees during the pandemic, which encouraged more people to return their late library books without the fear of embarrassment. This has also encouraged more people to utilize their libraries as tools of education because money will not stand in the way of participating in a library’s loan program. For this book, in particular, the late fees were capped at £15. Now, the Newcastle library is looking for who returned the book, and they will not be fined upon return. In addition, the book could be worth hundreds of pounds, so the library is looking to add the book to a special collection. Such a random occurrence has turned into such an amazing find, but let’s remember to return our library books in a timely matter, shall we?