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Better Late than Never? Overdue Book Returned…After 78 Years

By Harriet Staff

Here in Chicago, a lot of us have headed to the library during the past few weeks, returning books that were weeks, months or (gasp!) years overdue. Today is the last day of the Chicago Public Library’s amnesty program, which started on August 20, and patrons with overdue books were allowed to return them without penalty. And look what came out of the woodwork:

In the midst of a rare, three-week amnesty program…the library received a limited edition copy of Oscar Wilde’s classic “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Reuters reports.

The literary treasure was last checked out in 1934.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Harlean Hoffman Vision had put off returning the book due to the hefty fines — or even jail time — she feared she could face.

Vision told the Tribune that her mother, Sylvia Hoffman, had somehow obtained the book from a childhood friend. Vision had discovered the book, one of only 480 special-edition copies printed by London’s Edinburgh Society, in her mother’s attic after her death in 1993.

…How much would Vision have owed without the amnesty (as well as the libary’s $10 cap on overdue fines for books)? $6,000, according to Reuters.

Now THAT’s a big overdue fine! Read the full story at the Huffington Post.

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, September 7th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.