At the 2017 rate of 10 cents a day, the overdue fine would have come to $3,650

By Stephanie Petit
Updated January 16, 2017 10:11 AM
Credit: Gilotyna/Getty Images

A library book titled Forty Minutes Late was returned to a San Francisco library Friday — 100 years after it was checked out.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Phoebe Marsh Dickenson Webb checked out the collection of short stories in 1917 when she was 83 years old. Unfortunately, she died one week before the book’s due date, so it spent nearly 80 years in a trunk before her great-grandchildren discovered it.

“We figured it was ours now,” Phoebe’s great-grandson Webb Johnson told the outlet upon discovering the book by F. Hopkinson Smith. “I’m guilty. I know it. Guilty, guilty, guilty.”

At the 2017 rate of 10 cents a day, the overdue fine would have come to $3,650. However, an amnesty program in effect at the San Francisco Public Library’s Park Branch until Feb. 14 meant that Johnson paid no fine.

Head City Librarian Luis Herrera said the library was happy to have the book back in its possession, even after a century and not collecting a late fee.

However, Johnson’s cousin Judy Wells probably should have read it while she had the chance.

She joined her cousin to return the book in hopes that she could check it out but was told she’d have to wait. Herrera told the Chronicle the book will be available after it’s cataloged and examined by historians.

“I can wait,” Wells said.