Long Awaited: 2 Books Returned 42 Years Late to Calgary Library

In the world of libraries, this could be seen as a crime of biblical – or rather, bibliographical proportions.

Two books were recently returned to the Fish Creek branch of the Calgary Public Library, 42 years after they were borrowed.

Drinking – Alcohol in American Society – Issues and Current Research was signed on February 1, 1980, and seaside book was borrowed on November 14, 1980.

Both books were returned 42 years after they were signed.


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Barb Gillard, service delivery manager for the branch, said the books could have come with a hefty fine.

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“I think at the time they were borrowed we were charging 10 cents a day for an adult book. As it’s been about 42 years, at 10 cents a day, the late fee would be just over $3,000,” Gillard said.

“But luckily two years ago we forgave all late fines so the borrower won’t have to pay those fees.”

Read more:

Calgary Library goes fine-free to support community amid COVID-19

Gillard said the books are no longer in their system, so they won’t be released back into circulation, but she added that they hope to do something interesting with them.

“When you look at the books, they look almost academic, which is something we tend not to have in our collections these days.

“We tend to focus more on popular materials, so they’re definitely from an older library era.”

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The books came with an apology note, which read:

“CPL, I’m really sorry they’re late. I took them out in 10th grade to do research and never returned them in time. I imagine the content is very outdated now, but I feel better after rendering it. Thank you for your patience.”

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Apologies were included with the books.


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Gillard added that there’s no shame in bringing books back, no matter how long they’re overdue.

“If you come across any other library books that you have hidden in your home, please return them.

“We’re not judging, we’re just happy to have them back.”


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