Overdue Library Book Is Finally Returned 68 Years Later

A book checked out from a library in December 1948 was finally returned after almost seven decades!

In December 1948, a young girl walked into the Epsom Community Library in Auckland, New Zealand.

She wanted to read about the legends of the Maori people. She found a book called "Myths and Legends of Maoriland," checked it out and went on her way.

But what she didn't realize is that she never returned it, and even boxed it up by accident when she moved away.

Wikimedia / Stewart Butterfield

Flash-forward 68 years: The Epsom Community Library is still in Auckland, providing books, media and activities to the residents.

No one working there even knows about a book on Maori legends that disappeared so long ago. Many of them had probably not even been born at the time!

But, one day, an older woman walked in, carrying a book from another time.

Pixabay / jarmoluk

Libraries are valuable to communities not just because they provide resources, but they're also places where those communities make memories, like the burst of Christmas cheer that appeared in one university library in Spain.

Likewise, this blast from the past is making people smile not only in Auckland but all over the world!

Twitter / Auckland Libraries

Librarians were surprised to see this book come across their desk, returned by a woman who'd checked it out 68 years ago!

Facebook / Epsom Community Library

The book hadn't been in the library since December of 1948, according to the stamp card.

It had gotten mixed up when the patron moved out of Auckland, but when she rediscovered it, she was determined to return it.


But there was the issue of the late fee.

The card reads that it would cost three pence each day for the first week overdue, and a penny per day after that.

Twitter / Auckland Libraries

That comes out to $71.52. Adjusted for inflation, it would actually be $5,079. Yikes!

But luckily, the library was so thrilled to have this book back and to learn this great story, they completely waived the fee.

Twitter / Auckland Libraries

After all, it's a pretty great story, and they've managed fine without the book or the cash for nearly 70 years!

The library is also amazed that the book is still in such good condition.


However, it's unlikely that the book will go back on the shelves.

Since 1948, it's undergone revisions. The latest edition is called "Maori Myths & Legendary Tales" and sports a bright new cover.

Facebook / Epsom Community Library

The most overdue library book made a splash on Facebook, though, and even inspired someone to come forward with their own confession!

It's funny how a simple mistake can turn into such a fun and amazing story. Kudos to the woman who so honestly returned the overdue book after having it for so long.

Pixabay / StockSnap

Please SHARE this story with all the bookworms you know, and remember to return your library books!

This article originally appeared on LittleThings.

Tags: lifestyle