Rare book returned to Chicago library after 78 years

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2012, 20:24 PM IST

Washington: A limited edition novel was returned to the Chicago Public Library after 78 years.

The book was returned under the library’s amnesty program that allowed members to return overdue items without having to pay any late fees.

Under the program, more than 100,000 books, DVDs and other materials, including the rare novel were returned after 78 years.

According to ABC News, the rare edition of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ was issued in 1934.

Harlean Hoffman Vision found the book in her late mother’s possessions and wanted to bring it back, but she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t go to jail for having had it so long.

“She kept saying, ‘You’re not going to arrest me?’ and “we said, ‘No, we’re so happy you brought it back,’” Ruth Lednicer, the library’s marketing director, said.

The library’s fine amnesty, dubbed ‘Once in a Blue Moon Amnesty’, began on August 20 and ended on September 7. The value of the 101,301 items returned was estimated at two million dollars.

According to the report, the library caps fines on each late item at 10 dollars, so the total fines waived during the amnesty reportedly was 641,820 dollars.

Had fines not been capped, the late fees on the Wilde novel would have run more than 6,000 dollars, the report added.