Woman finally returns a book she borrowed from the library — 74 years later

With so much information available online these days, libraries seem kind of old-fashioned. And yet, they’re still around, just like they’ve been for hundreds of years.

And they work pretty much the same way: You find a book you want to read or study, you check it out at the librarian’s desk, you take it home and, on or before its due date, you return it.

That’s certainly the way it was nearly three-quarters of a century ago, when the mother of Californian Jean Durham checked out a book in 1945.

Only, she never returned it.

According to a report, Durham was cleaning out her study when she came across the book, “Lady of the Lake,” by Sir Walter Scott.

So she did the right thing: She returned the book to the Berkeley Library System, where librarians and workers were stunned to see it.

“My mother did buy some books but mostly she came to the Berkeley Public Library. We were always surrounded by books,” Durham told Berkeleyside.

You know what else was associated with bringing library books back late? Fees. They were imposed after due dates as an incentive to ensure that borrowers didn’t lose their way and made sure to bring the books they borrowed back to the library, where they belong.

So what would a 75-year library fee amount to? Fortunately for Durham…nothing.

The Berkeley Library System did away with late fees in 2018. 

How fortunate for her!

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