The age old saying, “Better late than never” comes to mind when considering the return of a library book that was 34 years overdue to the Baltimore Public Library by a woman who had checked out the book when she was a teenager. Michele Wojciechowski, 47, a writer and a resident of a suburb of Baltimore, said that she “freaked out” when she discovered the book at the home of her childhood, according to ABC News on Friday.
Wojciechowski said that her husband’s initial reaction was, “So what?” when she first told him about finding the book. But then after learning that the book was 34 years overdue, he took out the calculator and started calculating 12,346 days at 20 cents per day. The total came to $2469.20, or just under $2,500. Needless to say, Wojciechowski had plenty to be concerned about as she made her way to the Baltimore Public Library to learn her fate.
As it were, Wojciechowski owed the maximum fine levied for seriously overdue books: $6.00, which she gladly paid. The library’s director of communications, Roswell Encina, said that they are happy and excited when patrons stumble across long overdue books and return them to the library. She said that although Wojciechowski’s book was 34 years overdue, that it is not the most overdue book that has been returned to the library in the eight or so years that she has worked at the Baltimore Public Library. Encina said that a World War II veteran returned a book in 2010 that he had checked out in 1946, some 64 years later!
Being the public-spirited person that she is, Wojciechowski also donated a copy of her own book, “Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box,” to each branch of the Baltimore Public Library system. But Wojciechowski is holding onto her receipt just in case, or, as she put it:
“I have the receipt, so the police aren’t going to come get me.”