Two world wars, the Great Depression, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire have all gone and passed since the book first was checked out of a Boise library.  In 1910.  When William Howard Taft was President.  Before the arrival of radio, television, and the internet.  The book was the New Chronicles of Rebecca.  It was a sequel to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  A popular children’s story of the time.

The Book Found Itself Wandering Across the State

Somehow, it ended up being returned to a library in Garden Valley last month.  It appears to be in tip-top condition, which likely means it spent a century or more locked in a trunk or storage.  Then someone stumbled across it and decided it needed to be returned.  It was dropped off anonymously.

The fines didn’t actually accrue over the last 111 years.  At the time the novel was originally checked out, fines were capped at the price of the book.  Which was in the neighborhood of a dollar and fifty cents.

One story I read said without the cap, fines would’ve totaled 800 dollars.  I’m not sure it would’ve been assessed because nobody alive today could be held responsible.  Somehow, the book simply fell through the figurative cracks.

Fines for Late Books Taught Lessons

I’m reminded of when I was a boy and would sometimes forget a due date on a book.  My parents would make me spend my own dimes, which gave me a better sense of keeping track of deadlines.  Now my life runs on a clock and it turned out to be good training.

I don’t believe it’s likely the New Chronicles of Rebecca will go back into circulation!

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