A BOOK has been returned to Keighley Library – 76 years after it was borrowed!

This Way To The Tomb, a play by Ronald Duncan, was discovered during a tidy-up of some bookshelves.

It had been loaned out by the library on July 17, 1946.

Now the publication is 'back home' at the North Street building.

And a relieved Charlie Studdy, who found the book, has been told he won't have to pay any fine for its overdue return – which at present-day rates would amount to £3,552.45!

Mr Studdy believes the book was taken out by his late mum, Eileen Hoyle, who grew up in Haworth.

It had been on the library’s shelves for less than a month and had only been borrowed once previously.

"It’s likely mum borrowed it when she returned home from university for the holidays and forgot to take it back," says Mr Studdy, who lives near Goole.

"My mother loved books all through her life. She was an avid reader until the end."

In a series of tweets, Keighley Library and Local Studies said: "We received an email about a very overdue book – a play by Ronald Duncan called This Way To The Tomb. It had come from the gentleman's late mother's house and was due back on the 17th July 1946. That is definitely a record for us, nearly 76 years overdue.

"The gentleman said: 'I'm more than happy to send it to you but less enthusiastic about paying any fine'."

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, says: "This is such a lovely story and it’s great to see the book returned. It is now on display at Keighley Library.

"We operated several ‘fines amnesties’ during the pandemic to encourage readers to bring back their overdue books, however 76 years is something of a record for our libraries!

"Obviously we wouldn’t charge Mr Studdy for his mother’s overdue book, and readers can rest assured we would never charge more than the book is worth – however late it is! We would far rather get the books and the customers back wherever possible.

"Our libraries service is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year so it’s remarkable that this book has been on loan for over half of that time."

Keighley Library, a Grade II listed building, has just seen the completion of a major programme of refurbishment.