The Library Book That Returned Home Four Decades Late

The book returned to the front desk of the Belmont Public Library last week was like no other waiting to be placed in the stacks; “Lorenzo De’Medici & The Renaissance” by Charles Mee did not have a bar code or a classification number.

When the librarian opened the book, there were two pieces of documentation. The first was printed on a single sheet of paper: “It appears that I am late returning this book. My apologies.” The other was an old-style library slip with the due date stamped on the top: Oct. 15, 1979. The book was overdue for 34 years, 5 months and 12 days or 12,582 days.

“We have no idea who returned it and no way of finding out because we haven’t used the ticket system for years,” said Reference Librarian Corinne Chan, who said every library has a book that shows up sometimes decades later.

And if you are trying to calculate the fine on the tardy borrower, the library would have fined the scofflaw the maximum $5 for overdue books despite the lateness of the return.

“We’re just happy that it’s back,” said Chan.

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