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This book was returned to a Vancouver library days after late fees banished. It was 51 years overdue

The last time it was in a library the Vancouver Canucks were a brand new thing.
This book about telescopes was taken out of a Vancouver library in 1971. It was returned in 2022.

Usually, when people think about a late return at a library it's a day or two late, maybe a whole seven days if one forgot they had the book still.

The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) just had one returned 18,675 days late (give or take a day).

The book, titled The Telescope, was loaned out over a half-century ago; it was due back on April 20, 1971. On Tuesday (June 7) the VPL posted a photo on Instagram, noting the book had just made its way back into the system.

It came with a note, too.

"From your library," reads the post-it. "Very sorry it's a bit late 😐."

"51 years."

They also note the book is still in good condition.

Given that it was supposed to be returned April 20, 1971, there are a few things that maybe distracted whoever took it out; maybe it was the launch of the first space station (Russia's Salyut 1 launched April 19), the first broadcast of America's National Public Radio (NPR first broadcast on the 20th), or the Charles Manson sentencing.

Since it left the library, Justin Trudeau was born and became Prime Minister, Matt Good was born and became a rockstar, and Ryan Reynolds was born and slowly began to take over the world. At the time the Canucks had just finished their first season as an NHL team.

It seems the half-century trip may not have taken it far though, as the book was returned to the same branch it had been lent from (the South Hill Branch).

The book, which was 10 years old when it was last taken out, tells the history of the telescope from "pre-Galileo to post-Sputnik."

Fees were recently ended for the Vancouver library system, which is good news for whoever returned the book. On the inside page a stamp cautions people that as of 1963 overdue fines are $.05 per day.

Even without any type of interest, that late fee would be more than $930.

"With our recent removal of late fees… they won’t get charged a cent for their late return!" notes the library in the post.