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March 1, 2007

Return that library book!

It’s just too bad that Robert Nuranen couldn’t wait a couple more months to return his overdue library book.

The Hancock, Mich., man returned a copy of “Prince of Egypt” to his local library in January, after keeping it for 47 years. But if he’d waited until next week, he could’ve helped publicize “National Return Borrowed Books Week.” Of course, that would’ve increased his $171.32 fine to almost $172 even, so it’s probably a good thing he didn’t wait.

Nuranen paid his fine, but folks who return overdue books to Tahlequah area libraries won’t have to face such stiff penalties if they celebrate the week-long event.

“We don’t have a late fee,” said Tahlequah librarian Georgie Drees. “If it’s declared lost, which happens after six months, there’s a charge, but even if it’s been declared lost and they return it, we don’t charge them.”

Drees said returning overdue books would not only allow errant book borrowers to celebrate “National Return Borrowed Book Week” appropriately and clear their consciences, it would also make her a very satisfied librarian.

“I’m retiring this year,” said Drees. “And it would be kind of nice to get all the overdue books back. That would make me happy.”

Drees said the Tahlequah library has never had anyone return a 47-year-late book, but one was brought back after about 12 years.

“We were already doing automated checkout when they brought it back,” she said. “That one had been checked out from the old Carnegie Building, before we had automated checkout. I was just amazed someone would bring it back, but I guess they’d found it in their parent’s things.”

Over the years, Drees has heard a lot of excuses for not returning library books, but she has noticed some similarities among all of them.

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