Children's book returned to public library 111 years past due

Book case.
Book case. Photo credit GettyImages
By , Audacy

It's always embarrassing to return a late or overdue library book, fearing the judgment from the librarian behind the desk. At an Idaho public library, someone returned a book anonymously, fearing just that, as the book was 111 years past due.

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According to library officials at the Garden Valley District Library, located about 50 miles outside of Boise, the children's book "New Chronicles of Rebecca" by Kate Douglas Wiggin was still in good condition when it was returned.

When the city library assistant Anne Marie Martin saw the book returned at the checkout desk, they noticed something was different about it.

"The checkout desk noticed that it was rather old, and it didn't have any current markings, so they looked into it," Martin told KTVB.

Martin added that the book was so old she didn't think any of the workers had even seen the book before.

The book, first published in 1907, was placed in the Boise Public Library's history room, where it can be borrowed but will not be checked out again.

The book was initially checked out from the Carnegie Public Library, which no longer exists. The building is now a part of the National Register of Historic Places but no longer holds any books.

According to the pocket inside the cover, the reader who checked out the book was to be charged late fees after having it for two weeks.

After being 40,000 days overdue, fines would be 2 cents per day, which would end up being $800, the library told KTVB. However, fines in the early twentieth century were capped at the book's price, meaning it would have only cost $1.50.

However, most libraries these days have eliminated late fees, making everything hypothetical, NBC News reported.

As for who returned the book, it is still not known, and Martin shared with KTVB that it may not ever be known.

"It would be great if we could find out what happened, but that said, sometimes there are just mysteries in history," Martin said.

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