Library book returned 67 years late

Library book returned 67 years late

An Auckland library is thrilled with the return of a book that was due back in December 1948.

"A wonderful customer came to see us with a confession today," Epsom Community Library wrote on its Facebook page last night.

"As a child she was a patron of Epsom Library until she moved out of Auckland and accidentally took a library book with her! Today she finally managed to return it to us."

The book in question was Myths and Legends of Maoriland by A W Reed. Going by its issue history, it was reasonably popular, having been borrowed 20 times between the start of 1947 and its disappearance nearly two years later.

The fine -- three-pence for the first week and a penny per day after that -- would have been £102. Accounting for inflation, it would have been in the thousands of dollars.

"To the best of our knowledge this is the oldest book returned that we are aware of," Auckland Libraries told Newshub.

At today's overdue rates, she'd owe $24,604. But the woman, in her 70s, won't have to pay it.

"She took such good care of the book that we couldn't possibly charge her! We are just stoked she felt she could bring it back to us and tell us her story," the library wrote.

The post prompted others to beg for forgiveness.

"Just wondering if there might be an amnesty for a book that was borrowed from the Howick Public Library in 1969?" asked one patron.

"Couldn't we go back to the one penny per day overdue fine?" requested another.

Auckland Libraries collected $1.43 million in fines in the 2014/15 financial year.

It says fines are only waived "under extenuating circumstances" -- so if you haven't finished all 832 pages of The Luminaries yet, you better get reading.

"Auckland Libraries gives people lots of opportunities to avoid paying fines through courtesy communications -- this book was borrowed in a decade when this function was not available," says Auckland Council's Mirla Edmundson, general manager of libraries and information.

"As with any organisation that deals with customers, there will be times when there are exceptional circumstances to consider and that's done on a case-by-case basis."

It's not clear who the woman was. The library digitised all its records in the 1980s.

Auckland Libraries' books most likely to go missing: