KEY POINTS

  • The book was originally borrowed in 1910
  • It is still in good shape
  • The identity of the borrower remains a mystery

Returning an overdue book to the library isn't exactly ideal. In Boise, Idaho, someone has anonymously returned a library book that's more than 100 years overdue.

The overdue book was a copy of "New Chronicles of Rebecca" by Kate Douglas Wiggin, NBC News reported. First published in 1907, it was a follow-up to the book "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm."

The book that was returned after more than a century was originally checked out from Boise's Carnegie Public Library in 1910. Interestingly, it is still in good condition, with the words legible and the pictures quite clear.

"The checkout desk noticed that it was rather old and it didn't have any current markings, so they looked into it," Anne Marie Martin, a library assistant at the Boise Public Library, told NBC-affiliated KTVB. "It's in very good shape. I think the condition would be very good to excellent."

In the images shared by the library, one can see that the book is indeed in good shape. There is also a note stating that books can be kept for two weeks without being renewed but there will be a fine of two cents for overdue books per day. This means the borrower could have owed the library quite a sum of money.

"(W)hoever checked out this book would owe $803-thank goodness the Boise Public Libraries are now fine free!" Boise Public Library noted.

Martin says the library "never" charges a fine that's more than the cost of the book. "New Chronicles of Rebecca" was originally sold for $1.50 and is now valued at $5.00.

In a comment to the library's Facebook post, one user asked why the library doesn't charge for overdue books. In response, Boise Public Library explained that the decision to no longer impose fines on overdue books was based on the American Library Association's recommendation so as to "better allow access for all."

"Fines posed financial barriers and ultimately did not expedite the return of materials," the library explained.

The identity of the borrower remains a mystery that may not be solved.

"Unless somebody wants to come forward and be like, 'hey, this was my grandmother and she moved to wherever and was always embarrassed she hadn't returned this book or something,'" Martin said, KTVB reported. "It would be great if we could find out what happened, but that said, sometimes there are just mysteries in history."

Book/Library/Literature Representation. Photo: Ri Butov/Pixabay