Library Book Returned After 41 Years With $299 Cash Late Fee

Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 02:41 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 41-year-overdue library book was returned last week along with the nearly $300 late fee that had accrued. The anonymous reader gave back the book with a note to an Ohio library.

"To Champaign County Library: Sorry I've kept this book so long, but I'm a really slow reader!" read the note received July 17. "I've enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies."

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Library Director Ty Henderson was shocked that the patron even bothered to return the book, "The Real Book About Snakes."

"Forty-one years to the day, we got the checkout stamp on the inside cover due July 17, 1972, and so he included 2 cents per day overdue fine payment," Henderson told "He didn't just return it and not pay, he paid the money. That's awesome. That's honesty. He didn't throw it to the wind and say oh it's 41 years, they're not going to know."

The Champaign County Library posted a photo of the note and the returned book on its Facebook page last week to a flurry of amazed responses.

"There are people who respect rules... WOW!"

"That is really a testament of that person's character. Don't we all wish we were that awesome?"

"Restores one's faith in human nature."

Amazingly, this isn’t the first time someone has returned a decades-overdue library book. In 2010, the College of William & Mary Library in Williamsburg, Va., received a book that had been checked out 35 years prior. Alumnus Pat Harkin found the book, Leon Uris' "QB VII," in a box and returned it, along with a cash donation. 

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Related stories:

Library of Congress Lists Books That Shaped America

875 Books Read by 5-Year-Old Girl in Kindergarten

Hillary Clinton Honored With Little Rock Children's Library  

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