Library Book a Century Overdue Returned in San Francisco

'Forty Minutes Late' was 100 years overdue, according to SFPL officials.

— -- The book "Forty Minutes Late" appears to have been one hundred years overdue by the time it made its way back to its home at a branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

The book was checked out in 1917 by Phebe Webb and returned on January 13, 2017 by her great-grandson Webb Johnson, according to a library spokesperson.

"Forty Minutes Late" is a collection of short stories by Francis Hopkinson Smith. It was returned to the Park Branch Library, the oldest library building of the San Francisco Public Library, as part of the San Francisco Public Library's amnesty program that forgives late fees.

Which is good news for Johnson. The library said its late fees were increased from five cents to 10 cents about 25 years ago. At the rate of five cents per day for 75 years and 10 cents per day for 25 years. So, the total overdue fine would be about $2,200, according to ABC News calculations.

The 2017 Fine Forgiveness Program has several goals, among them being to recover library collections.

"We need to process it back into the system. We are not sure yet if it will go back out into circulation," said Katherine Jardine, Public Relations Officer. "It might live in our History Center or Special Collections."

Another goal of the program is to increase library patronage and usage. The San Francisco Public Library said 55,000 patrons currently have outstanding fines, representing approximately $4.5M in overdue balances.