Book Returned to New York Library - 55 Years Overdue

Book Returned to NY Library - 55 Years Overdue

We’ve all done it — returned books late to the library, that is — but I’ll bet you never waited 55 years to take one back. I don’t even want to think about the fine…

Staff at the Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public library were surprised earlier this week when they opened their mail and found Fire of Francis Xavier by Arthur McGratty and a check for $100 tucked inside to cover the fine. But the biggest shock was when they realised the book had last been checked out in April of 1958.

'This book was returned to us today,' the branch's Facebook page posted Monday afternoon. 'Not sure what the late charge should be.'

Disappointingly, as much as all of us who return our books on time (or nearly) would like the fine to be substantial for a book that late, according to a NYPL spokesperson, “the fine is usually the cost of a replacement book”.

Even more annoyingly, library records don’t go back that far, so it’s impossible to say who borrowed it in 1958. And library staff aren’t saying whose name is on the check.

I love the fact that whoever it is was so ashamed they’d had the book for 55 years they posted it back! What about you — how long overdue is your library book?

Image of The Fire Of Francis Xavier
Manufacturer: Bruce Publishing
Part Number:
Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Zen Pro's picture
Zen Pro February 7, 2013 - 7:03am

True story:

I bumped into an old college friend in Paris and after dinner back at his apartment I was browsing his book-shelf. "Oh look, I said, The Dice Man, one of my favourite books... I lent mine to someone but never got it back and I couldn't remem-- Hang on, this is my copy, I blurted, recognising its love-worn dog-ears and clutching it to my chest. You must have had it for over twenty years!" Reflecting for a moment, he said matter-of-factly: "Oh yeah, I never got around to reading it... Do you mind if I borrow it again?" -- Zennis

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 7, 2013 - 11:47am

Years ago I let my girlfriend use my library card and ended up with a $200 fine for a pair of books she returned maybe a year later. What jokers. Of course I didn't pay it, and I could never show my face in that branch ever again.

I still have a copy of Lord of the Flies checked out from a junior high library. I had moved away before I could return it, and plus, it's one of my favorite books. If ever there was a book you had to accidently steal.