Book Returned To Idaho Library 110 Years Past Due Date

If the Boise Public Library were still enforcing the late fee printed in the book, it would have racked up more than $800 in fines.

Check this out: Someone just returned a book to an Idaho library more than a century after its original due date.

The book was last taken out on Nov. 8, 1911, “so obviously, it was pretty overdue,” library assistant Anne Marie Martin of the Boise Public Library told Idaho 6 News.

The book, “The New Chronicles of Rebecca” by Kate Wiggin, was published in 1907. Someone recently returned it to a library in nearby Garden City, where a staff member saw that it had a sticker indicating it belonged to the Boise Public Library.

Whoever was hanging onto the book seems to have taken great care of it.

“It’s in very good shape,” Martin told KTVB 7. “I think the condition would be very good to excellent.”

The late-fee policy from when the book was checked out is printed inside: “Books may be kept two weeks without renewal unless otherwise labeled; a fine of two cents per day is imposed on overdue books.”

That policy would mean that whoever checked it out would owe more than $800 — but that fee wouldn’t actually be levied, Martin said, since the library doesn’t charge more in late fees than the cost of the book. In this case, the book cost $1.50.

On top of that, the library did away with fines for late books altogether in 2019. Instead, it doesn’t let people check out any new items when something is overdue, and only charges if an item is lost or damaged. Many library systems have done away with fines in recent years and some research has suggested that abolishing late fees increases the number of library users without also leading to an uptick in late book returns.

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