Texas Man Returns Library Book 44 Years Late Racking Up $1600 Fine!

Have you ever taken a book out of the library and forgotten to return it? Well, one man in Texas took that concept to the extreme when he returned a library book 44 years late! After being checked out by the Water Department in 1976, The Law for Motorists was finally returned.

David Hickman was just 17 when he borrowed The Law for Motorists after being involved in a car accident. He had gone to his local library in Abilene, Texas, looking for guidance on how to handle car insurance claims and other legal matters related to his accident. Little did he know that 44 years later that same book would find its way back home.

When asked why it had taken him so long to return the book, Mr. Hickman said: “Well I guess I just forgot about it after all these years! To be honest, I didn’t even remember ever taking it out until I saw it in my collection of old books at home. That’s when I realized where it had been all this time!” A funny story? Absolutely! But what about that fine?!

Fortunately for Mr. Hickman (and his wallet!), Abilene Public Library has gone “fine free” and no longer charges patrons for overdue books. If they hadn’t implemented this policy, Mr. Hickman could have been on the hook for a whopping $1,606 fee! All jokes aside though, the librarians were more than happy to have their beloved book back home safe and sound after all these years!

The team at Abilene Public Library must still be laughing about David Hickman’s late return of The Law for Motorists. 44 years is quite an impressive record! But beyond being a funny story, this incident serves as an important reminder of how much libraries have changed over time with regard to fines and fees associated with returning books late or not returning them at all.

We can thank programs like “fine free libraries” for making sure people like Mr. Hickman don’t get stuck paying huge fees due to an honest mistake, allowing everyone access to free resources without fear of penalty or retribution.


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