Staff waive £900 fine on library book returned 55 years late

The book on Regency furniture was originally borrowed in 1958 - when the fee for overdue books was 2d a week

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The Independent Online

A library book originally loaned out for three weeks has been returned to Oxford City Library - 55 years late.

The book - Regency Furniture 1795-1820, by Margaret Jourdain - originally borrowed on 30 November 1958, was returned by an elderly lady who said she was prepared to pay a fine.

The fine for overdue books was 2d a week in 1958 and staff turned down her offer.

Reader services manager Jane Mason said: "It was a very busy day so staff were unable to get more details from her - she very quietly pulled a member of staff aside and said she would like to return a very overdue book.

"She offered to pay something for it but the fines for it won't exist any more."

She added: "It's very difficult to work out how much that might be by now but we think it is probably about £900."

No records remain from when the book was originally borrowed and it is not known how much it might be worth. However, its poor condition means it will not be put back on the library's shelves.