ONE ANONYMOUS LIBRARY borrower has had late fees of over €4,000 waived by their local library – after returning a ‘lost’ book containing rare photos of the last International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
The Pictorial Record of the last Irish-held Congress was borrowed from the library in Navan, Co Meath, in December 1932 – just months after the event took place – and had never been returned.
The library’s catalogue of books showed that a copy of the pictorial record had been on file, but suggest it had been lost – with no record of the borrower or any of their details.
Staff at the library, therefore, had not expected to find the book in the returns pile on Monday morning – tucked among the other books that had been discreetly left back since Saturday night.
Meath county librarian Ciaran Mangan, who made the discovery, admitted to this week’s Meath Chronicle that the return of the book was “a very unusual occurance”.
He added on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he was “really intrigued” to find out whoever had held a copy of the book – the return of which is particularly timely, given the return of the Eucharistic Congress to Dublin in two weeks’ time.
Whoever did so won’t be the subject of a witch hunt, however – Mangan says he has waived the €4,160 in late return fees that would otherwise have been imposed on a book that was originally due for return at Christmas 1932.
“We’re going to be very kind,” Mangan joked, adding that the book would not be lent out to borrowers in future, but would remain in the library’s reference collection where anyone – including the person who returned it – will be able to see it again.
The library has over 7,000 active borrowers, but it’s also possible – nay, probable – that the book was withdrawn by a lapsed or deceased former member.