July 17, 2014

A few overdue book stories


Courtenay library book returned after 30 years to Prince George branch,
Man included a note and a cash donation to cover late fees...


Inside the book staff found a handwritten note and five new $20 bills to cover the overdue fine.


A library patron with a guilty conscience has returned a book he borrowed three decades ago, along with some cash to cover the overdue fees.

The man, whose identity has not been released, recently dropped off the errant copy of "Camping and Woodcraft" carefully wrapped in yellow flagging tape at the Prince George Public Library.

Days later when the book was finally opened, library staff found a note from the gentleman tucked inside along with $100 in new bills to cover late fees, said spokesperson Andrea Palmer

"This book had been borrowed from the Courtenay Library 30 years ago. I wish to return the book and pay the overdue fines," said the note.

If the book was out for 30 years, at the overdue charge of $0.30/day, the charge could have theoretically been $3,285, but the library says they normally cap the charge at $10.

Gratefully accepted

Palmer says while it's unusual for the library to receive a book that's so overdue, they are grateful for the donation and both the book and donation have already been sent to the original library on Vancouver Island.

"He's very diligent. And we're thrilled to be able to pass this on to Courtenay," said Palmer.

While it's impossible to verify exactly when it was taken out, Palmer says the book was published in 1965.

"The book itself is great," she said. "It's clearly been well-loved."

"Perhaps those wilderness skills learned from the text helped our honest patron establish himself in the North…."


The man returned the well-worn book wrapped in yellow flagging tape to hold it together. (Prince George Public Library)


The book Camping and Woodcraft was published in 1965, but the library card catalog recording when it was last checked out has long since been lost. (Prince George Public Library)

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Library book returned 47 years late 

Former UBC professor escapes hefty fine


A former University of British Columbia professor has returned a book 47 years overdue and managed to avoid a hefty library fine.

"In theory it was a massive bank-balance-breaking fine," John Foster told CBC News.

"When I worked out the fine ... I needed a calculator," he said, estimating the actual fine would have been in excess of £8,577, or just over $14,000 CAD.

Foster, who taught English at UBC from 1974 to 2002, was in Vancouver this summer and found the book — The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough — while clearing out a storage locker.

"What amazes me is that I somehow overlooked the due date in 47 years," he says.

When he returned to Belfast from his summer trip to Vancouver, Foster says he emailed the librarian at Queen's University Belfast, saying he had a book that was "a bit overdue."

"I was delighted they wanted the book back after all these years," says Foster.

Foster still isn't sure how the book came to be in his possession.

He completed his undergraduate degree at the university, but by the book's due date — October 11, 1966 — Foster says he was a doctoral student at the University of Oregon.

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