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Overdue library book returned after 84 years

A man has escaped a fine after returning a library book 84 years after it was borrowed.

In a Facebook post, the Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana said: “Better late than never, right? We had a patron return a book to our Main Branch yesterday that his mother checked out in 1934 when she was 11 years old.

“That means the book is only 84 years overdue! The book is Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.”

The book is a collection of poems written as first-person narratives by the dead residents of the fictional town of Spoon River, reflecting on their lives and deaths.

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Thankfully, no overdue fees are being charged

Jackie Morales, the library’s assistant manager, said: “The man was cleaning his parents’ home when he found the book and decided to return it. He said it was what his mother would have done.”

The library’s Facebook post added: “We thought that the title was appropriately spooky to turn up again after all this time right around Halloween.”

The stamped library card from the book shows it was due back on 14 April 1934.

Locals hoping to borrow the first edition anthology will be disappointed, as the book has now been decommissioned.

Pic: Shreve Memorial Library
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The anthology is now being taken out of service

Ms Morales knows the book well as she was assigned to study it in high school. She said: “My English teacher had each student in class memorise a different poem.”

As for the late fee, Ms Morales said the library never even considered it.

“The account wouldn’t even exist anymore… We purged our accounts in 1934,” she said.

Pic: Shreve Memorial Library
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Shreve Memorial Library says the book return was a case of ‘better late than never’

Responding to a question on Facebook, the library admitted even if it wanted to charge the man, the fine would not break the bank.

“We actually calculated it and they would only owe $3. That is the maximum charge for overdue books.”


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