Returned library book could be 100 years overdue

A book recently returned to a library in Canada could have been checked out nearly 100 years ago, library officials said.

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A well-worn copy of Charles Dickens’ “Martin Chuzzlewit” was recently, and anonymously, left at the Fergus Library in Ontario.

The library does not have record of the book, likely published between 1897 to 1906, in its collection; however, it bears a Fergus Library nameplate. Library officials believe it belonged to the library’s original collection when it first opened in 1911.

They are unsure when it was checked out. There are some clues within the book that shed some light on the time frame though.

“Right on the name plate in the book, it does say ‘two cents a day,’” librarian Rebecca Hine told CTV. “I did a little bit of research and it looks like probably around 1940 that was the going rate.”

In that case, Hine said the fine would be about $580 if the book were checked out in 1941.

Library officials have no plans to find the person who checked it out. The book will be put on display at the library.

“It’s really cool to have that sort of connection to the past and that connection to the community,” branch supervisor Kirstin Maki said. “Lots of us book nerds think it’s really neat to have an old book like that around and imagine who has read it.”


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