Overdue book returned 51 years late to Falkirk Library

A seemingly long-lost book has been returned more than 51 years late to Falkirk Library.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd November 2021, 10:35 am
The book was due to be returned to Falkirk Library on November 14, 1971.
The book was due to be returned to Falkirk Library on November 14, 1971.

The Handbook of Games for Parties by Joseph Edmundson was due to be handed back on November 14, 1970.

Staff at the Hope Street facility could scarcely believe it when the book was brought back on Tuesday – coinciding with the beginning of Book Week Scotland.

Falkirk Libraries took to Facebook to share news of the bizarre return, writing: “A customer returned an overdue book to Falkirk Library yesterday (Tuesday).

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Falkirk Library assistant James Crawford with the copy of The Handbook of Games for Parties by Joseph Edmundson that was returned 51 years late. Picture: Michael Gillen.

“It was due back on November 14, 1970, better late than never.”

The post was followed by quizzical and laughing emojis.

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The current fine for overdue books in the Falkirk area is 10p a day, meaning the reader was theoretically due almost £1600.

However, the region’s libraries cap financial penalties for late returns at £5 per item on adult texts.

Allan Wright, Falkirk Library librarian, said: “The book was handed in on Tuesday and when the staff member brought it down, it seemed like too good a story not to put on social media, especially during Book Week Scotland.

“Apparently the gentleman didn’t realise it was so overdue. He was returning some other books from before the first lockdown and just grabbed it along with his returns.

“Obviously, we didn’t charge overdue fines but we’re not quite sure what we’ll do with the book yet as it’s hardly up to date.”

Social media users saw the funny side, as Shetland Library commented: “Must have been some party!”

Kate Southworth joked: “That must have been some fine to pay!”

Elsewhere, a book which was more than 73 years overdue has been posted back to a Fife library.

Stately Timber by Rupert Hughes, an adventure story set in Boston, should have been returned to Dunfermline's Central Library in Abbot Street on November 6, 1948.

However, staff at what is now Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries were stunned when a parcel containing the book arrived at the facility earlier this month.

Found by the borrower’s daughter, the book was discovered on the Black Isle more than seven decades late.

Donna Dewar, of Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, said: “I burst out laughing when I opened the parcel, I couldn't believe it.”

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