They say you can never rush a good book, but the person who took out the children’s book Balloon from Oswaldtwistle Library is in for a nasty shock.
Now seven-and-a-half years overdue, the book has racked up a fine of more than £300 at 11p per day. The book was due to be returned on February 3, 2004 and is now the most overdue library book in Hyndburn.
According to information released under the Freedom of Information Act by Lancashire County Council all five libraries in Hyndburn have overdue books dating back at least SIX years.
However under county council rules the owners will only have to pay a maximum fine of £6 for each book they borrowed.
At Accrington Library the most overdue book is the psychological thriller Stone Baby by Joolz Denby which was due to be returned on June 28, 2005.
Contemporary novel Sandstorm by Michael Asher was due to be returned on July 21, 2005 to Rishton Library while ‘A straightforward guide to bankruptcy, insolvency and the law’ by David Marsh has been overdue at Clayton Library since August 5, 2005.
Bittersweet by Danielle Steel was the longest overdue book at Great Harwood Library and should have been returned by August 10, 2005.
The fines from these five books would total over £1,100 however under the maximum fine rule the libraries would only recoup £30.
Accrington Library user Martin Peacock, who runs the writing group Written World, said: "If there is no cut off then the total fine could be less than the original price of the book and it’s certainly an incentive not to take books back.
"With the cuts in library resources, items that go missing aren’t going to be replaced and that will impact on library users."
Julie Bell, libraries manager at Lanc-ashire County Council, said: "While we are not complacent about overdue loans, it’s important to keep the matter in perspective.
"Across the county, fewer than one in a thousand loan items go missing in the long term.
"Most of these are due to borrowers leaving the area without giving a forwarding address. Clearly, it would not be cost-effective to try to pursue these cases.
"However, renewing loans couldn’t be easier. As long as no one else has reserved the item, all loans can be renewed up to 10 times – by phone, online or in person at a library."