27 July 2021| | 3 min read
Book returned to Newcastle Libraries…63 years overdue!
An overdue book has been returned to Newcastle Libraries almost 63 years late.
An anonymous reader sent the 1954 first edition copy of ‘How to lie with statistics’ by Darrell Huff in a brown envelope to Newcastle’s City Library.
Upon inspecting the returned book, library staff discovered that it had been issued from Fenham Library and was due to be returned on November 25, 1958.
The book was accompanied by a note stating ‘Better late than never! Apologies for the late return.’
Based on a rate of 15p per day, the return of the book would have cost the sender nearly £3,500 if fines weren’t capped at £15 and they hadn’t been suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Luke Burton, Newcastle City Council Service Manager for Community Hubs and Libraries, said: “It was certainly a shock for staff to discover just how long overdue this book was, we’ve never seen anything like this before.
“We’re very grateful it has been returned and would love to speak to the individual who returned it to find out what prompted them to do so after all those years. It would be great for them to get in touch with us, and they can be assured they won’t receive a fine if they do come forward!
“It’s also been really pleasing to see the discussion this has prompted on social media since we first shared the picture of the note we received alongside the book. It’s brilliant to see how significant books and reading continue to be for people and how much enjoyment they provide.”
Mint condition first edition copies of ‘How to lie with statistics’ can be worth hundreds of pounds. This copy however has suffered some damage over the years and instead will be reintroduced to the Newcastle Libraries collection as a reminder of its unusual journey.
Find out more about Newcastle Libraries at www.newcastle.gov.uk/libraries