Nearly 63 years after it was actually supposed to be back, a very, very overdue book has finally been returned to the Fenham Library in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
BBC News reports that the work, a first edition copy of Darrell Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics, was supposed to be back on November 25, 1958. Accompanying the severely behind return was a note that said “Better late than never!!”
The person who actually brought it back was not identified, however, as they chose to bring it back anonymously. The library manager, David Hepworth, thinks that might be because they were “worried about us sending them a bill.”
Late book fines were suspended by that particular library system during the coronavirus pandemic to try and cut down on trips deemed unnecessary. That doesn’t really seem like a good excuse here.
The library staff concluded that the late fee for the book would’ve been roughly £3,434 (around $4,747), though even if the person was known it wouldn’t matter because the fines are capped at £15 (about $20.73). Also it sounds like the people who work there aren’t really looking for revenge here.
“As much as we’re pleased to have this book back, we’re also pleased that it’s sparked a bit of interest and people are talking about libraries and reading,” Hepworth said.
He also added that in the old days an officer from the library would’ve made a house call to retrieve the book.
“In those days, even up to the ‘70s, there was a library officer who would visit people’s houses to get books back,” Hepworth said. “Clearly we don’t do that anymore.”
He added that the person who brought it back was not going to have to deal with “bailiffs” coming by. He said that he’d still like to hear from the person because the Tyne Bridge publishing company wanted to offer up books as a way of saying thank you.
In the unlikely event that you are the person then it’s up to you to determine if that’s a trap (sounds kind of fishy). Anyway this seems like a much more laid-back approach then, say, this VHS tape shit from earlier this year in Oklahoma.