Redbridge library book overdue by 9,941 days and counting...

Ilford Central Library

Ilford Central Library - Credit: Archant

A library user who borrowed a book entitled Telling the Time in 1986 mustn’t have understood it, after failing to return it for 27 years.

Telling the Time by Lynne Bradbury is more than 235,500 hours overdue

Telling the Time by Lynne Bradbury is more than 235,500 hours overdue - Credit: Archant

It is among the 101,500 books currently overdue from libraries across Redbridge, with a whopping total of £40,145 owed in fines.

The book, by Lynne Bradbury, is 9,941 days overdue and was taken out by a user who also borrowed Multiplication Made Easy, by W. Murray, Prince of the Dolomites, by Tomie De Paola and The Friend by John Burningham.

The small collection was borrowed in June 1986, the month that Argentina won the World Cup and Richard Branson beat the Atlantic speed record.

Luckily for the forgetful library borrower, charges for children’s books are capped at £1, meaning only £4 is owed although the books have amassed more than a combined 100 years of fines.

The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Recorder.

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Porsche: The Complete Story, by Chris Harvey, was taken out of Gants Hill Library, Cranbrook Road, in 1987.

If the book is ever returned, the person will have to pay just £6 – the maximum for adult loans.

When a book is lost or damaged, a charge is made for it to be replaced. Dutiful library users paid £86,538 in fines during the last financial year.

Cllr Ashok Kumar, cabinet member for leisure, said: “We are fortunate to have well stocked libraries that have been kept open.

“People should come and use the facilities but obviously we want co-operation for books to be returned so people people can use them.

“We are very proud of our libraries and the staff do a fantastic job.”

Redbridge Council hired a company last year to chase up very overdue items with hefty charges to encourage people to bring them back.

Forgetful readers will now have to pay £10 on top of the regular fine for books returned more than 36 days late.

Volunteers are wanted at libraries across Redbridge. To get involved, talk to a librarian.