Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Book returned to South Yorkshire library 45 years on

Library book
Staff said the library book was in 'unbelievable condition'

A book has been returned to a South Yorkshire library 45 years overdue.

The Penguin first edition copy of Quatermass and the Pit by Nigel Kneale, which was borrowed in 1965, was posted back to Dinnington Library.

The borrower's identity is unknown as library records do not go back that far, but staff have appealed for the person to get in touch.

Alison Lawrie said: "The person who posted it back to us would not be in any trouble whatsoever."

Ms Lawrie added: "I would really like to know where the book has been living all those years - in a loft or garage, in someone's bedroom or in storage.

It's true that some people like to take their time with a good book, but 45 years is an incredible amount of time
Library assistant Alison Lawrie

"They've obviously taken care of it. Other than the natural browning on the pages, it's in unbelievable condition."

Rotherham council has a policy of limiting all penalties for late returns to £6 a book.

The library service currently charges 15p a day for overdue books so if there was no limit, the borrower would have been liable to a fine of around £2,500 at today's rates.

Ms Lawrie, who opened the package, said: "I thought at first it was just a normal return, until I saw the colour of the pages, they were brown around the edges.

"It's true that some people like to take their time with a good book, but 45 years is an incredible amount of time."

Staff think the book was borrowed from the old Dinnington Library, which opened in 1963 and is near to the new library, which opened in 2000.

Ms Lawrie said: "It's a fantastic mystery in itself and has become a real talking point for visitors to the library.

"We have no idea why they decided to return the book after so long but it may be that the person who originally borrowed it has passed away and the family may have found it when they emptied the house.

"Someone may have been tidying up their loft and come across it, or perhaps they thought we would just enjoy the mystery."

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