Overdue book returned to Scottish library after 73 years

A Scottish library said officials were stunned to open a package that arrived in the mail and find an overdue book that had been checked out 73 years earlier.

OnFife Libraries said the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries received a package in the mail last week that contained a copy of Stately Timber by Rupert Hughes.

The book had been checked out from what was then known as the Dunfermline Public Libraries’ Central Library and had been due back Nov. 6, 1948.

“I burst our laughing when I opened the parcel, I couldn’t believe it,” Donna Dewar, a cultural services assistant at DCL&G, said in a post on the library’s Facebook page.

“We had a book returned to our Rosyth branch after 14 years recently, which we thought was amazing enough, but this was way beyond anything we’ve heard of.”

The book was accompanied by a letter from the daughter of the man who had borrowed the book in 1948. The woman said her father, who is now deceased, had lived in Thornton in the 1940s, and the book was recently discovered among his belongings.

The library said overdue fees are currently suspended to encourage the return of long overdue materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For a bit of fun we worked out how much could have been due in fees and it comes to a whopping £2,847 [$3,840.97],” Dewar said.