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Better late than never...

It's never too late to return that library book - even if it's nearly 60 years overdue...

Jaws hit the floor at Middlesbrough Central Library this week when a book dropped into the returns box that should have been back on the shelves in December, 1962.

After nearly six decades, the pristine copy of Geoffrey Faber's poetry anthology The Buried Stream was welcomed back by bemused but grateful library staff, with no questions asked.

The book's more than 57-year absence could have seen the unlucky borrower facing a library fine of more than £500.

But with fines suspended as part of the service's response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the conscience-stricken bookworm may have seized the moment to make amends.

Librarian and Community Hub Officer David Harrington said: "Much to our surprise this beautifully bound book was dropped into the returns box at the Central Library - fittingly during #LibrariesWeek.

"We're really grateful to the anonymous person who returned this book to us as it will be added back to our stock and placed in the Reference Library for future generations to enjoy.   

"We'd also urge any of our customers - past and present - to return any overdue library books they might have, with the assurance that we're not currently charging fines."

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Communities and Education, said: "What a lovely, public-spirited act to return this book after so many years.

"The library is home to a treasure trove of literature and learning, and this latest addition is now back where it belongs for others to enjoy.

"It's definitely a case of better late than never!"

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