The librarian at New Zealand library, Zoe Cornelius recently revealed that a library book had been returned 67 years after it was first borrowed. The book Myth and Legends of Maoriland by A W Reed was borrowed by a young girl in 1948 who returned the book whilst visiting friends and asked what the fine would be for the book bring returned over 24,600 days late.

The woman was rather embarrassed when she returned the book saying that she had borrowed the book as a child and meant to return it on several occasions over the years. She did admit that she had read the book time and time again over the years and it had given her a great deal of pleasure. Cornelius, after her initial surprise explained that she was really pleased that the book had brought the lady so much joy over the years, and that it had been cared for in such a way that it still looked as good as new.

When asking what the fines were owed, Cornelius explained that there would be nothing to pay as the book had been borrowed by a child and children did not pay. The lady must have breathed a great sigh of relief as the original slip in the back of the book stated that fines for any overdue book would incur charges of 3p for the first week and 1p per day hereafter. Therefore, had this book been borrowed by an adult the overdue fines would have run to something in the region of NZ$24,605 which would equate to US$17,000 or GBP £11,700.

Since the return of the book the library has dealt with numerous enquiries from people wanting to know if they returned books that were extremely overdue, would they too be let off paying any fines?

Michelle Bradsenk