Book returned to Watertown public library, 90 years overdue

Local News

The library’s fine policy at the time was two cents per day, which would amount to more than $600 today.

Watertown Free Public Library

A book checked out nearly 90 years ago finally made its way back to Watertown’s public library.

The Watertown Free Public Library posted on Facebook that someone in Washington, D.C. found a copy of “Hill Towns of Italy” by Egerton R. Williams Jr. and returned it while on a trip to Boston. The book, published in 1903, was last checked out on Jan. 30, 1934. It apparently never made its way back to the Watertown shelves.

The library’s fine policy at the time was two cents per day. The “far-flung patron” would have owed around $656 today, the library said. 

“Fortunately for them, we no longer charge late fines! Let’s look at what else has changed since 1934,” they wrote on Facebook.

The library took the chance to reflect on changes over the past century. Inside “Hill Towns of Italy” were WFPL’s former policies, including summer hours and lost book policies. 

“This book may be kept for FOURTEEN DAYS,” the inside cover read. Now, the library has three week loan periods with automatic extensions. The library also doesn’t charge any late fees, as of 2020.

“TFW you get a guide book out from the local library but then never come back from Italy,” someone commented. “Exactly!” the library replied.