Long overdue: 2 books returned 42 years late to Calgary library

In the library world, it could be considered a crime of biblical — or rather, bibliographical — proportions.

Two books were recently returned to the Fish Creek branch of the Calgary Public Library — 42 years after they were signed out.

Drinking — Alcohol in American Society — Issues and Current Research was signed out Feb. 1, 1980, and Book of the Seaside was borrowed Nov. 14, 1980.

The two books were returned 42 years after they were signed out.

The two books were returned 42 years after they were signed out.

Global News

Barb Gillard, service delivery manager for the branch, said the books could have come with a hefty tome of a fine.

“I think at the time they were borrowed, we charged 10 cents a day for an adult book. Since it’s been about 42 years, at 10 cents a day, the late fees would be a little bit over $3,000,” Gillard said.

“But luckily, two years ago we forgave all late fines, so the borrower won’t have to pay that fee.”

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Gillard said the books aren’t in their system anymore, so they won’t be going back into circulation, but she added they are hoping to do something interesting with them.

“When you look at the books, they look almost academic in nature, which is something we tend not to have in our collections these days.

“We tend to focus more on popular material, so they are definitely from a former era of the library.”

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The books came with an apology note, which read:

“CPL, I am truly sorry these are late. I took them out in Grade 10 for research and never returned them on time. I imagine the contents are very out of date now, but I feel better having returned them. Thanks for your patience.”

An apology note was included with the books.

An apology was included with the books.

Global News

Gillard added there’s no shame in bringing books back, no matter how long overdue they are.

“If you come across any other library books that you have squirrelled away in your homes, feel free to return them.

“We don’t judge, we’re just happy to have them back.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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