Overdue library book finds its way back to school...three decades late!

Kimbolton pupils holding the returned library book.

Kimbolton pupils holding the returned library book. - Credit: Archant

A library book that was borrowed from Kimbolton School in 1989 has been returned, via Australia, nearly three decades after it was taken out.

The book which travelled by airmail

The book which travelled by airmail - Credit: Archant

Shardick, by author Richard Adams, travelled more than 9,000 miles and was sent to the school by airmail, arriving with an unsigned note that said “Overdue library book (Junior Library) being returned, thank you”.

The novel arrived at the school on January 9, and caused quite stir in the school office as staff did not realise at first how long it had been taken out for.

Kimbolton School secretary, Carolyn Tully, was first to open the package and said: “It was a real surprise seeing how overdue the book was, but I thought it was very kind of someone to take the trouble to return it. The book is showing its age but with some minor repairs it can hopefully return to the library and be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.”

The school’s librarians were delighted to see the return of the dusty book, with its ‘Junior Library’ stamp on the inside cover and a return date of July 3, 1989, on the ticket.

Library resource manager, Sue Hart said: “The school took to social media this week to share images of the book, note and package sent from Floreat Post Office, Western Australia.

“Several former pupils are known to live in the country and we are keen to find the sender and thank them for their honesty – with all overdue fines waived.”

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As one Facebook follower noted: it’s “a great lesson it’s never too late to return borrowed things”.

The book, which is written by the author of Watership Down, was first published in 1974, and is written about a wild bear called Shardick, who aims to change people’s lives.

The returned book is currently having minor repairs but will, all being well, return to the library as soon as they have been completed.