Man pays fine for mother’s overdue library book — she checked it out in 1934

"Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters.
“Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters.
(Sarah Crawford / Associated Press)

A man who returned his mother’s very overdue library book is paying her fine — even though he didn’t have to.

Shreveport resident Robert Stroud came across a copy of “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters in his late mother’s things, the Shreveport Times reported.

She’d checked it out from the Shreve Memorial Library in 1934.

Stroud initially dropped off the book without leaving his name. But then the story of the long-overdue book went viral when the library posted about it on its Facebook page.


The library waived its maximum fine of $3.

Stroud and his family have decided to donate $1,542.65 to the library in honor of his mother. They presented the check to the library on Thursday.

According to the 1934 library rules listed inside the book, patrons were charged 5 cents per day for every day books were late. That amounts to just over $1,500.

“My brother and sisters determined [paying the fine] would be a befitting honor to my mom, and also we have an aunt who’s a librarian,” Stroud said.

Stroud said his mother, who was 11 years old when she checked out “Spoon River Anthology,” loved literature and poetry.

“My mom had a great sense of humor,” he said. “I think she would see a lot of levity in this.”

Shreve Memorial Library Executive Director John Tuggle joked that the story might become a lesson to others.


“What I’m going to use it for is to remind all of our patrons that it’s never, ever too late to return an overdue book,” he said.