Overdue book returned to Idaho library after 110 years


An Idaho library is hailing the return of an overdue book that was checked out from a now-defunct library 110 years earlier.

The Boise Public Library said the book, New Chronicles of Rebecca by Kate Wiggin, was returned recently to the Garden Valley Library and transferred to the Boise Public Library’s main branch.

Librarians in Boise said the book was checked out Nov. 8, 1911, from Boise’s Carnegie Library, which has long since ceased to operate as a library.

“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 KTVB-TV. “I don’t think anybody here has seen a book checked in 100 years later, 110 years later.”

Officials said the book was returned anonymously, and the library does not have records of the Carnegie Library’s check-out history available, so the tome’s whereabouts for the past 110 years are likely to remain a mystery.

“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. “It would be great if we could find out what happened, but that said, sometimes there are just mysteries in history.”

The library said the book’s overdue fees would have amounted to $800 at the 2-cents-per-day rate from 1911, but the library system’s fee policy has since changed.

“The book was originally $1.50, so that would have been the cost we would have charged. We never charge more than the cost of the book for the fine,” Martin said.