‘Gone With the Wind' Returned to Brooklyn Public Library 57 Years Later

Josephine Evans would have owed a pretty penny had the late fee, which was just 5 cents a day in 1959, not been waived: at least $1,000

Barbara Roston was a teenager when she checked out "Gone With the Wind" from the Brooklyn Public Library back in 1959. Fifty-seven years later, she's finally returned it. 

Just recently Roston decided to reread her copy of the book, yellowed and fragile. 

"I somehow flipped to the very back of the book, where, to my horror, I saw the Brooklyn Public Library sticker," she said. 

Josephine Evans was working at the desk of the Crown Heights branch when a sheepish Roston walked in, carrying a book in a bag. 

"She comes to the desk and she explains her story, that she's returning this book from 1959," said Evans.  

Evans said she looked for a barcode on the back to see just how long overdue it was. Instead, there was only a card catalog. 

"Seeing it was a bit of a throwback and just so interesting," said Evans. 

Roston said Evans was "so incredibly excited to see it -- 'oh, my God, this is the relic.'" 

Late fees at the time were just 5 cents a day. Even at that, Evans would have owed a pretty penny had the sum not been waived: at least $1,000. 

The copy is too delicate to return to circulation. It may be displayed as one of the most -- if not the most -- overdue book in the Brooklyn system.

"I must have loved the book that much," said Roston. 

Members who have late fees totaling $15 or more have a chance to pay what's overdue at the library checkout. After all, as Roston found out, tomorrow is another day. 

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