Son pays $1,552 late fee for library books checked out by his parents over 40 years ago

A former Rockville resident who lived in the area nearly a half century ago is voluntarily making amends for a couple of overdue library books that were never returned by his late parents.

During the Thanksgiving holiday this year, Jon Kramer sent a letter to Montgomery County Public Libraries explaining that he and his siblings recently came upon two books that were checked out in 1973 and in 1974 at the county's Twinbrook location while they were cleaning out their parents' belongings at their Ontario, Canada home. Apparently, Kramer's parents had taken the library books with them when they relocated to Minnesota and eventually north of the border.

If you were wondering what residents were missing out on, the books that were borrowed were The New Way of the Wilderness by Calvin Rutstrum and 365 Meatless Main Dishes by William Kaufman.

"Both of these books have yet the antiquated computer keypunch cards in their sleeves and apparently were never returned," Kramer wrote in the letter. "We apologize for that oversight and hereby endeavor to correct the wrong by the paying the accumulated late fees."

With the books being late collectively for a total of 85 years and at a charge of $0.05 per day, which Kramer believes was the late fee that was being charged at the library during the mid-1970s, he calculated that his parents accumulated a late fee of $1,552.30. To make things right, Kramer also sent a check for that amount along with his letter.

Kramer hopes the library will allow his family to keep the borrowed books as a keepsake. At the end of his letter, Kramer wrote, "It is our hope that you will refrain from calling the FBI to report this as international trafficking of stolen goods and instead allow us the freedom of maintaining the ill-begotten literature on loan for the next 85 combined years or so, at which time we hope to make another payment to your venerable institution on their behalf."

Montgomery County Public Libraries said the money will be used to purchase many new books for county residents.