Overdue library book returned 105 years later

15-04-2024 02:56 PM

Ammon News - A classic novel was returned to a Colorado library more than 100 years overdue – with fines that would have been in the thousands of dollars in line with inflation if the library system still imposed late-fee penalties.

Author Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” was dropped off at Poudre Libraries 105 years to the day that it was checked out and supposed to be due back on Feb. 13, 1919, the library recently revealed.

An unidentified woman gave the book back earlier this year after her brother found it while rummaging through their mother’s belongings in Kansas, the library said in a press release last week.

When the book was checked out during the Woodrow Wilson presidential administration, the fine for an overdue book was 2 cents each day. If a messenger had to be sent to pick up the book, the offender would owe another quarter, the library said, citing the past lending rules.

“Based on a 2-cents-per-day fine, this fine would be approximately $760. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $14,000!” the library stated, though it noted it stopped charging late-fees in November 2020.

When the book was first taken out, Poudre Libraries was then the Fort Collins Free Public Library and was housed in a now empty building behind the current library.

“It’s amazing.” Annaclaire Crumpton, digital communications specialist for the library told KUSA. “We’re thrilled that people would think to bring it back. And it makes for a wonderful story, kind of a timelessness of books, right?”

The book, which is still in good condition, was checked out 3 times before it went missing for 105 years.

“It’s been annotated and well-loved — you wonder how many generations it came through, parents to kids,” Crumpton told the station.

The book will reportedly be retired as the library system has other “Ivanhoe” copies to offer and will end up in a local museum or displayed in the library.

New York Post

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