An “old” book returned to the library after 50 years
It is very rare for books to be returned to libraries after their original return date. However, an “antique” book recently found its way back to University College London (UCL), 50 years after it was borrowed.
The book was posted to the UCL library by an unknown person.
The anonymous sender also left a note that read, “Dear Librarian, I’m afraid this book is over 50 years out of date!” Please don’t just throw it away, now that I’ve taken the time and trouble to return it. It must be an ‘antique’ now.
The book which was due to be returned in the summer of 1974, accrued a fine of 1,254 pounds (almost Rs 1.2 lakh) but as the sender was anonymous, this fine could not be imposed.
The “permanently borrowed” book was a hard copy of the 1875 edition of the Latin play Querolus. Querolus is the only extant complete Roman coin from Late Antiquity other than those of Plautus, Terence and Seneca. The play, which was written by an unknown author, tells the story of a magician who tries to trick a poor man out of his inheritance.
Suzanne Traue, the liaison librarian at the college library, told UCL News that her “jaw may have literally dropped” when she read the note accompanying the book.
“Dear Librarian, I’m afraid this book is over 50 years late!” : An anonymous borrower finally returns his book to @UCLLibraries which was due in 1974 and could have resulted in fines of £1,254 – along with a handwritten note https://t.co/kakSnu9oER
— UCL News (@uclnews) March 30, 2022
I too would have returned this book anonymously. The cost of living is rising and all that! 😀
— Jen Smith (@jensmithmi) March 30, 2022
—Darren Millar (@budweiser37) April 3, 2022
Reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld lol. The library contacts Jerry about an overdue book from 1971. According to Kramer, with a fine of five cents a day for 20 years, the cost could amount to $50,000. Maybe the Libray Cop is still here 😂🤣. pic.twitter.com/3SSBJ2UQYK
— Mark (@MarkC19842021) April 2, 2022
Could it be someone @GrandLat? 👀 https://t.co/WeFYNQNHGD
— UCL Arts and Humanities (@ArtsHumsUCL) March 31, 2022
This guy must have really liked his book. https://t.co/zHMD2kXaa3
— Patrick (he/him) (@PatricktheB) April 2, 2022
It has been noticed that once libraries remove late fines, many people show up to return old books.
and books returned after 50 years! I like to read a short story that gives me hope
— Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) April 2, 2022
In February, a book borrowed from the Cape Breton Regional Library in 1939 was returned there after 82 years. Because the library had dropped its policy of charging late fees, the person who returned the book had been spared a hefty payment.