London, March 19 (ANI): Librarians at the Dinnington Library, South Yorkshire, were surprised when a book borrowed 45 years ago was sent back in an unnamed parcel.
The Penguin first edition copy of Quatermass and the Pit, by Nigel Kneale, was borrowed in September 1965.
The borrower will, however, not be penalised since the Rotherham Council does not fine anything above 6pounds a book.
The library currently fines a reader 15p a day for overdue books so, without the 6pound limit the borrower would have had to pay a fine of nearly 2,500pounds at today's rates.
"I thought at first it was just a normal return, until I saw the colour of the pages, they were very brown around the edges," the Telegraph quoted principal library assistant Alison Lawrie, who opened the package, as saying.
She went on: "Then I noticed it was an early Penguin book. It was a real surprise, even more so when I looked inside to see the date of return.
"It's true that some people like to take their time with a good book but 45 years is an incredible amount of time."
Staff believes the book was loaned out by the old Dinnington Library, which opened in 1936 and is close to the new library, which was inaugurated in 2000.
Lawrie said: "It still has the original paperwork inside.
"This includes the label with the library name on it along with the five rules for borrowing books and the date label. It was due back on October 15, the length of borrowing at the time was 21 days, so it would have been taken out on loan on September 24 1965."
The identity of the borrower remains undisclosed even as it is clear the package was posted from somewhere in Sheffield.
And there are no records since paper paperwork from the 1960s was destroyed during computerisation.
Lawrie said: "The person who posted it back to us would not be in any trouble whatsoever.
"In fact I would really like to know where the book has been living all those years - in a loft or garage, in someone's bedroom or in storage. They've obviously taken care of it. Other than the natural browning on the pages, it's in unbelievable condition.
"There was no letter or note with the book, so obviously the person didn't want us to know who they were.
"It's a fantastic mystery in itself and has become a real talking point for visitors to the library."
She added: "We have no idea why they decided to return the book after so long but it may be that the person who originally borrowed it has passed away and the family may have found it when they emptied the house, someone may have been tidying up their loft and come across it, or perhaps they thought we would just enjoy the mystery." (ANI)