A 100 Year-Old Book Was Finally Returned To The SF Library

Photo via PexelPhoto via Pexel

Photo via Pexel

Currently the San Francisco Public Library’s Fine Forgiveness Period is waiving late fees right now on all overdue items returned before February 14, 2017. This means, if you’ve checked out ANY book or material, they’ll accept it back at no price to you. But get this, nothing will be as late as a 1906 volume returned to the Library’s Park Branch on Friday afternoon.

Yep, you heard us right. Webb Johnson of Fairfield, California returned an outrageously overdue copy of a book (ironically titled Forty Minutes Late) that his great-grandmother had checked out perhaps as long ago as 1917, and was now more than 36,000 days overdue. Since the public library has a $5.00 cap limit on overdue books, essentially the $0.10 cents fee added up after 100 years would equal out to $3600.00 in total. #Crazy. Luckily, he didn’t have to pay it.

However, the deceased Ms. Phoebe Marsh Dickinson couldn’t help the late book fee — she died two weeks before it’s due date. Though the approximate time can’t be determined, the edition of this particular issue of Forty Minutes Late dates to 1915.

Before we checked out books using computers, the library staff would actually have these Date Due slips.

— SFPL’s City Librarian Luis Herrera

Photo via Joe Kukura/SFistPhoto via Joe Kukura/SFist

Photo via Joe Kukura/SFist

The last date of entry reads, “FEB 18 ‘16” which we can guess means 1916 as by 2016, computer check in and out was definitely a thing.

“We already have more than $56,000 worth of fines that have been waived and over 2,000 books that have been returned as a result of the amnesty program,” Herrera said. “We’ve already exceeded the last time we had an amnesty program. We’ve doubled that in just a week.”

Isn’t that a fine piece of history?

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A 100 Year-Old Book Was Finally Returned To The SF Library
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