Library book that's 50 years overdue racks up £1,200 fine

Library book that's 50 years overdue racks up £1,200 fine
Library books returned after decades

Someone has returned their book to UCL Library in London after 50 years, and it's racked up an eye-watering fine.

The book, an edition of the play called Querolus was due back in 1974 so with fines set at 10p a day the reader must have racked up £1,254 in debt.

The anonymous borrower of the book returned it with a note inside which read: "Dear Librarian, I fear this book is some 50 years overdue! Please don’t just throw it out, now that I’ve taken the time and trouble to return it. It must be an 'antique' by now."

Suzanne Traue, Subject Liaison Librarian, opened the parcel and was "pleasantly surprised". She said: "I returned from 18 months of working from home to find rather a lot of books on my desk with no note to indicate who they were from, or why they'd been sent to me.

"So, to be honest, my first thought when I saw the padded envelope on my desk was 'Oh no, not another one'. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book came with a note, but I think my jaw may literally have dropped when I read it!"

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Professor Gesine Manuwald, Head of the Department of Greek & Latin, who researches Roman drama seemed pretty chuffed the book has been returned too and said: "It is amazing to see such loyalty from a former user of the UCL Library that they bring back a book after almost 50 years.

"In a sense this book is ‘antique’ since it dates from 1875, but it is still the most recent edition of the work in the standard Teubner series of scholarly editions of ancient Greek and Latin texts. While this edition is now also available on Google Books, it is great to have access again to a hard copy of the original 1875 edition.

"This late antique play is a great piece of evidence in showing how drama developed after the period of classical antiquity and is waiting to be explored by today’s scholars."

Seems like it is never too late to return your library books. Can someone tell Boris Johnson?

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