As one might expect, there was a hefty fee for such a tardy return, reports the University of Liverpool, where Ron had been a student decades ago: He technically owed up to £4,500 (or around $7,600) for the borrowed book Structure and Function in Primitive Society.
Back in 1953, the man was working as a research student at the university, and liked the book so much he decided to keep it when he moved to London to continue his work.
But years later, when he went to slim down his collection of books, he realized he’d kept the tome a bit too long. When his son-in-law took him on a recent tour of his old Liverpool haunts recently, he stopped by the library to drop off the overdue book.
“Ron had been warned very firmly by the friends he plays cards with at the local pub that he would be landed with an enormous fine, and feel the full force of the law,” his son-in-law joked. “They didn’t expect to see him again.”
The university librarian decided to be lenient in this one case, noting that while overdue books are a serious matter, he decided to remit the fine on the condition that Ron agreed “henceforth, to live an exemplary life and return all his books on time.”
It’s a good thing the fee was waived, added the son-in-law, because “Neither of us is fit enough to do much running.”
91-year-old escapes £4K fine when returning University library book 61 years late [University of Liverpool]