Honesty is the Best Policy for Borrower Returning Library Book After 41 Years

Henry Baker
Henry Baker
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According to the Facebook page of the Champaign County Library in Urbana, Ohio, an anonymous reader returned a book 41 years overdue. “The Real Book About Snakes” last left the building’s shelves on July 17, 1972. Enclosed in the returned book were cash and a handwritten note.

“To Champaign County Library, Sorry I’ve kept this book for so long, but I’m a really slow reader!” the person wrote, with either a great sense of honesty, humor or both. “I’ve enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies.”

Library Director Ty Henderson noted how remarkable it was that the book had been returned 41 years to the day after being checked out. He sadly noted to WDTN News that the library's total fees for everyone's overdue books is more than $280,000. Frequent library patron Molly Candady added, "That's awesome. That's honesty. He didn't throw it to the wind and say oh it's 41 years, they're not going to know."

When the book was first signed out, late fees were 2 cents a day. The library kindly reminded people on its Facebook page that, “It's never too late to return those overdue items!” Perhaps Jerry Seinfeld could have used such advice…