Overdue library book returned after 52 years

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The front of The Metaphysical Poets and the inside showing when the book was due backImage copyright
Lowestoft Library

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The copy of Metaphysical Poets was returned to Lowestoft Library

A book has been returned to a library 52 years after it was taken out, with a £100 cheque to cover the fine.

Jo Wilde, manager at Lowestoft Library, said she was “amazed” when the copy of The Metaphysical Poets arrived in the post.

It has a date stamp to show it was due back in September 1967 and it came with a note from the borrower who said they were “extremely embarrassed”.

Ms Wilde said the “very generous” gesture was a “lovely surprise”.

“Most people wouldn’t have even bothered to return the book,” she said.

Image copyright
Lowestoft Library

Image caption

The book has a date stamp inside which shows it was due back in September 1967

Ms Wilde said the borrower – who took out the book while staying with their parents in the town – had come across it again while moving house.

The fine at the time would have been three old pennies a day.

An approximate charge for roughly 18,751 days, with no cap on the fines or any adjustment for inflation, would be £234, seven shillings and nine old pennies, she said.

Nowadays, the fine is 15p per day but the charge is capped at £7.35 for an adult book.

She said the tome, which was in “good condition”, would be returned to the shelves at the library on Clapham Road South.

“People might come and take it out for the novelty factor that it was last borrowed in 1967,” she said.

The £100 will go towards the library, which is a registered charity.

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