I confess I have an overdue library book. From my college library it’s now 26 years overdue, it had been left at my mum’s and forgotten about.

Yes I feel guilty, no I won’t return it, yes I’ll make a donation to cover the cost of its replacement.


After reading about these offenses though, I’m not feeling quite so bad.

The Law Of Nations.

Checked out by George Washington from the New York Society Library in 1789 this essay was finally replaced in 2010.


The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

Borrowed in 1934, Harlean Hoffman Vision returned this overdue gem in 2012 during a fine amnesty. She had apparently feared being jailed for its non return.

The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians, and Grecians (volume II)

Perhaps not overdue in the true sense, this tome was found in a neighbouring school roughly 150 years after it had been placed there temporarily.

Facts I Ought to Know About the Government of My Country

A Polish Immigrant wanting to brush up on their American Politics checked this book out in 1910. 99 years later her son, Stanley Dudek returned it.

The Archbishop Of Bremen (a book about)

Accepted as being the world record for the longest overdue book, Robert Walpole borrowed this from Sidney SussexCollege Library in 1667/68, discovered at Houghton House in the mid 1950s it was returned 288 years late.

Master Of Men

Found in a house and returned 79 years late, Leicester county council gratefully accepted the return of local author E. Phillips Oppenheim’s book despite the library it was loaned from having closed decades earlier.

The Adventures Of Pinocchio


63 years overdue, this book was returned to The Rugby Library anonymously during a fine amnesty saving the patron from a £4,000 fine.

The Real Book About Snakes

An overdue book returned by another anonymous borrower albeit one with a sense of humour and a dollop of guilt. It arrived at The Champagne County Library along with this note.
“Sorry I’ve kept this book so long, but I’m a really slow reader! I’ve enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies!”

Days and Deeds: A Book of Verse for Children’s Reading and Speaking

The world´s largest fine for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29), the amount owed at two cents a day for the poetry book Days and Deeds checked out of Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, USA in April 1955 by Emily Canellos-Simms. Although the book was due back 19 April 1955, Emily found it in her mother´s house 47 years later and presented the library with a check for overdue fines.

Kulmale Maale

Returned to Tallinn Central Library in Estonia 69 years late, the aerial bombing of the library during the war was given as the reason for it’s overdue status.

Well that makes me feel a little better about my ahem oversight. Do you have any overdue books? Let us know in the comments.