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Overdue library book discovered and returned to Lowestoft after 52 years

PUBLISHED: 11:56 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 22 May 2019

Rachel Gibson, of Lowestoft Library, with 'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter, which was returned to the library almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries

Rachel Gibson, of Lowestoft Library, with 'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter, which was returned to the library almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries

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More than five decades after it was checked out of Lowestoft Library, a book has been returned, along with a £100 apology cheque.

'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter was returned to Lowestoft Library after being almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter was returned to Lowestoft Library after being almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries

After borrowing 'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter, the mystery visitor should have returned the book in September 1967.

Now, almost 52 years later, the book has been posted back to the library with the cheque to cover the late charges and a note from the reader saying they were "extremely embarrassed".

Lowestoft Library manager Jo Wilde said: "I was amazed when we received the book.

"It was a very generous gesture and a lovely surprise.

'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter was returned to Lowestoft Library after being almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries'The Metaphysical Poets' by Jim Hunter was returned to Lowestoft Library after being almost 52 years overdue. PHOTO: Suffolk Libraries

"Most people wouldn't have even bothered to return the book after all that time."

The mystery visitor borrowed the book while staying in Lowestoft with their parents, but did not find it until moving house.

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'The Metaphysical Poets' was returned in a good condition and has been returned to the shelves on the Clapham Road South site.

In 1967, the fine for a late library book was three old pennies each week, meaning the borrower faced a fine of £33 and 10 shillings.

Now, overdue books get a charge of 15p per day, although this is capped at £7.35 for an adult book.

James Powell, marketing and communications manager at Suffolk Libraries, said: "This is a lovely story showing the best of human nature.

"It is easy to forget or mislay things but taking the extra effort to return the book, and in good condition, after all this time shows this person wanted to put things right.

"Hopefully next time someone else borrows this book they'll bring it back a bit sooner.

"However, we'd always rather keep customers so if someone is embarrassed about returning a very overdue book, we'd encourage them to talk to us."

Lowestoft Library is part of Suffolk Libraries, an independent and charitable organisation which runs all of the public libraries in Suffolk, with all 44 remaining open despite cuts to library services across the country.

The £100 will be put towards supporting the services and activities provided at the library.

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