Man 'fined' £7,000 after returning late grandfather's library book 84 years after it was taken out

Paddy Riordan returned his late grandfather's library book which he took out in 1938 Credit: Earlsdon Library

A library book in Coventry has finally been returned 84 years and two weeks past its due date.

The copy of Red Deer by Richard Jefferies was last borrowed in 1938 and was only brought back to Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library on Tuesday (25 October).

Paddy Riordan returned the book on behalf of his late grandfather Capt. William Humphries, who had borrowed it for his daughter Anne, who died recently.

Red Deer had been borrowed eight times before Capt Humphries took it out. It was due back on 11/10/1938.

The book, which was overdue 4,385 weeks when it was returned, would've cost £7,673 if today's fine rate of 25p per day if it had been applied.

Mr Riordan paid the fine of 4,385d - by donating the equivalent sum of £18.27 in today's money to the library.

A picture of Capt. William Harrison and his daughter, who he borrowed the book for Credit: Earlsdon Library

A notice on the front page asks borrowers to bring books back once they are done with them even if it's before the deadline.

"Books should be exchanged by borrowers personally if possible," it adds.

The notice also states that the book belongs to the Earlsdon branch of the City of Coventry Public Libraries.

Due to funding cuts, Earlsdon library has been a charity since 2018 and its volunteer team recently won the Queen's Award.

Lucy Winter, Community Engagement Co-ordinator at the library, was pleased to see the book back on the shelves.

"It's such a lovely piece of the library's history and an interesting thing for us to see," she said.

"[Mr Riordan] was so nice and it was so kind of him to donate the fine back to the library."

Earlsdon Library still lends books to the public and the fine for late returns is now 25p per day.

Asked if 84 years was the longest time a book had been overdue in the library's history, she said: "I would think so."