The University of Sheffield has announced that it is to abolish fines for overdue library books. For some readers returning their books it seems to be case of better late than never…
The Law of Nations
Checked out 1789, replaced in 2010
George Washington borrowed this essay on international affairs from the New York Society Library in 1789. It was replaced 221 years later - though the first US President had accrued a fine of $300,000 (£195,000).
Days and Deeds
Checked out 1955, taken back in 2002
The largest fine paid for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29). Emily Canellos-Simms paid the fine to Kewanee Public Library in Illinois after finding the book in her mother’s house.
Checked out 1944, taken back in 2013
This tome was returned to Tallinn Central Library in Estonia 69 years late. The borrower blamed his tardiness on the aerial bombing of the library during the war.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Checked out 1934, taken back in 2012
Harlean Hoffman Vision returned the Oscar Wilde novel to Chicago Public Library during an amnesty on fines. She said she feared she would face jail time.
General Educational Development study guide
Checked out 2010, taken back in 2013
Texan Jory Enck was arrested and jailed for a day last year after he was found to be in possession of an overdue study guide. He returned the book after he was released.
Structure and Function in Primitive Society
Checked out 1953, taken back in 2014
Ron Webster, 91, escaped a £4,000 fine when he bought this volume back to the University of Liverpool’s library. He had been so taken with the book he decided to keep it.