Overdue book returned to a library after 110 years

Library officials say the book is in immaculate shape and has been well taken care of

Maroosha Muzaffar
Wednesday 01 December 2021 13:03
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<p>A book that was checked out in 1911 was returned to the Boise Library in Idaho</p>

A book that was checked out in 1911 was returned to the Boise Library in Idaho

A book that someone took out in 1910 from a library in Idaho was mysteriously returned after more than a century.

It was, however, unclear who checked out a copy of New Chronicles of Rebecca from the Boise Public Library in Idaho in the United States in 1911.

“New Chronicles of Rebecca — originally checked out from Boise’s Carnegie Public Library in 1910! — was recently returned,” the library said in social media posts from 17 November.

“With a fine of two cents per day for 111 years, whoever checked out this book would owe $803 [£603] — thank goodness the Boise Public Libraries are now fine free!”

The book, authored by Kate Douglas Wiggin, was returned in an immaculate shape, library officials said.

Lindsey Driebergen, the interim communications manager for the Boise Public Library system, told The New York Times that the circumstances of the recovery though remain a mystery.

This copy of the book may be the only one that has the author’s family name misspelt as “Wiggins” on its binding, the NYT report pointed out.

After the book was returned, “the checkout desk noticed that it was rather old and it didn’t have any current markings, so they looked into it,” Anne Marie Martin, a library assistant told NBC-affiliated news network KTVB.

The inside cover of the book has a note intact from over a century ago. It reads: “Books may be kept two weeks without renewal unless otherwise labelled; a fine of two cents per day is imposed on overdue books.”

The 278-page book is about the adventures of a girl named Rebecca Rowena Randall. The book was a sequel to the book Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm that was published in 1903.

It was reported that the book was returned either in late October or early November to a library in Garden City. The librarians there sent the book to the main library in Boise, Idaho.

Library officials could not find out who had checked out the book in 1911 and who had returned it. They also could not find out where it had been all this while.

Ms Driebergen assumed that since the book was in “immaculate” shape and was “well taken care of,” it could have spent the last century in an attic.

“The cover was in great shape, all of the pages were crisp, nothing was missing, all the images were there,” she said.

Ms Driebergen said the book was sold for about $1.5 (£1.1) when it was first published in 1907. The book will now be displayed in a special room at the main library.

There have been other instances where books have been returned to libraries after an insurmountable period of time.

This year, a Wisconsin woman sent a book that was 63 years overdue to the Queens Public Library in New York. A 72-year-old woman in Manhattan also returned a book that was 57 years overdue in 2016.

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