The Reykjavík City Library in Gerðuberg received a very surprising shipment in the post yesterday when two children's books were returned 46 years too late. The original return date was the 4th of February 1972, as the librarian Arnór Gunnar Gunnarsson posted on Twitter. The books in question are 'The Adventure About Aggi the Elf and Lísa' and 'The Adventure About the Five Fellows'.
"The books aren't even in the system, but we will keep them for fun. I think we'll let them off with without a fine", Arnór Gunnar commented tongue-in-cheek.
An explanatory note sent with the books read: "Storage cleaning after a couple of moves. Better late than never! The readers are now both university educated (whether Aggi and Lísa played their part is up to debate) and have both moved abroad. Couldn't resist returning the books. FINALLY!"
Arnór Gunnar commented on the possibility of a fine on Twitter, "If we calculate the fine as ISK60 per day for 46 years it would amount to ISK 1.007.400 ($9.474, €8.183) per book! But we'll let them off, especially as the books had such a positive effect on the readers!". This amount would shatter the record for the largest fine for an overdue library book, according to Guinness World Records, which is $345.14, paid by Emily Canello-Simms for the poetry book Days and Deeds. The book was checked out of Kewanee Public Library in Illinois on the 19th of April 1955 and was returned by Emily 47 years later, along with a check for the overdue fines. The fine for the two books returned in Iceland yesterday would amount to $18.948. There is a frame of reference for a lost or damaged book, however, which is ISK 3.000 according to the rate list of the Reykjavík City Library.