Library Book Returned 55 Years Late & That's Not Even the Most Surprising Part

Inspiring 7

library booksI forget things. A lot. Always have. And when I'm not forgetting things, I'm either misplacing or flat-out losing them. So I have to admit: The idea of a library book being 55 years overdue isn't a particularly difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. The idea of someone actually returning a library book after 55 years, on the other hand ... now that's what I call an unexpected plot twist! But that's what happened.

The book was a biography of Catholic missionary and co-founder of the Jesuits St. Francis Xavier, written by Rev. Arthur R. McGratty, S.J.. The library was the Fort Washington branch of the New York Public Library. And the last check out date on the library card for this copy of "Fire of Francis Xavier" was April 10, 1958.

Okay. So if the library were to tally this tardiness tariff based on its current late fee rate of 25 cents per day, hmm, let's see ...

The fine for a book 55 years overdue would be $5,018.75!

No wonder the biography was returned anonymously!

Well, sort of anonymously. Sigh. It would've been awesome if some elderly fan of St. Francis hand-delivered the book and made a personal apology, right? At least what really happened is only slightly less awesome: Library staff don't know who returned the book, but whoever did also included a check for $100.

Wow. Talk about letting your conscience be your guide! I mean, the mystery reader didn't have to return that book at all -- after 55 years? Like the non-existent library police were gonna suddenly show up to settle a debt or something? The $100 check was just an extra little bit of nice sprinkled on top of an already extra-large helping of nice. I can't say I would have bothered to be quite so nice. Or thoughtful.

Huh. I guess the moral of the story is that in addition to being scatterbrained, I'm not a very nice person.

Would you return a library book after 55 years?


Image via CCAC North Library/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Michelle

Uh, who's name was on the check? Or did I miss something here?!?

bubba258 bubba258

My thoughts exactly...

bella... bellacazzate

OBVIOUSLY Mr Bookman paid a very threatening visit to this person (whose name is undoubtedly on the check, you ninny).  

moons... moonshooby

Where I'm from the fees don't add up to more than the cost of replacing the book, so $100 should be more than adequate.

Silve... Silvernail

The book was probably deleted from the catalog a long time ago so there would be no record of who had it checked out. At least that's how it worked at both libraries I worked at. Hopefully it was at least in good condition when returned so it could be readded to the library's collection.

nonmember avatar Carly

@Bella ahhhh, tropic of cancer... I wonder if the guy just had baked bean teeth and didn't want anyone to see?

nonmember avatar actually

Actually the fees add up to about $5,022 if you count leap years.

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