Regan Schoultz is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

Overdue book? That's $24k please

A library book almost 70 years overdue has finally found its way back to a local Auckland library.

The well travelled book, Myths and Legends of Maoriland by A.W Reed, was returned to the Epsom Community Library this afternoon by a library member after she took the book out in 1948.

The book, which was due back to the library on December 17 that year, was accidentally taken on an overseas adventure by the now grandmother, who was a child at the time.

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It is unknown where the book travelled but librarian Zoe Cornelius said she was happy to have it back.

"She has only recently been able to come back visiting other family and so was finally able to bring the book back. I thought it was fantastic she had brought it back for us."

Ms Cornelius said the book was in "okay" condition and had obviously been "really well loved and well read over that time".

She said the woman had read the book several times during the decades but always thought she would want to return the book.

No overdue fees had been incurred because she got the book out as a child.

As an adult however, at today's rates, the woman would have racked up a fine of $24,604. Auckland Library fees are $1 per day of overdue.

Now it is back at the library Myths and Legends of Maoriland will not return to the shelves.

Ms Cornelius said it would instead be cherished for a while at the library while the librarians decided what to do with it.

In March 2006, The Punch Book of Humour made its way back to the Rotorua Public library after being overdue by 61 years.

In a bid to cover the nearly $9000-plus in overdue fees incurred in that time, library staff attempted to sell the book on Trade Me but were unsuccessful.

- NZ Herald

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