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Better late than never - why a popular children's book was returned 30 years late

By Victoria Owens|

It's the good news story that could give parents with lost library books ?some relief.

A library in the U.S. has welcomed back a late book C more than 30 years after it was first borrowed, proving the old adage 'it's better late, than never' still rings true.

The popular children's book was originally borrowed in 1993 and has only just been returned to the Missouri Library, three years after it introduced a 'fine-free' policy.

The St Charles City-County Library has not charged fines since September 2020 and has cleared existing fines on customer accounts.

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The St Charles City-County Library in Winghaven welcomed the surprise return (Supplied)

So the lucky person who returned But Not The Hippopotamus ?to the library's Winghaven branch doesn't owe any money, despite having held onto the popular book for three decades.

The St Charles City-County Library spruiked the good news on its Facebook page writing, "it's never too late to come back to the library, ?especially now that we are fine free".

The library posted about the good news on its Facebook page (Facebook)

Library staff are reportedly glad to see the new policy is not only encouraging books to be returned, but also bringing customers back to the library.

A representative from the library told Fox News Digital that the Sandra Boynton book is the oldest in "recent memory" that's been returned to the library district.

The decision to abolish library fines ?was made three years ago after the library conducted its own research, finding that threats of fines were deterring people from using the library at all.

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Popular children's book returned to the shelves after 30 years. (Getty)

In a press release CEO of the library Jason Kuhl said "we anticipate that we will have fewer lost items because customers who were afraid to return a late item will now be able to do so without financial consequences," he added.

And it seems he was right - and parents following the library's Facebook page agree.

One wrote: "?kid's books like that always get lost in the weirdest places."

While another joked, "?must be a tough read. Congrats on finishing it!"

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The celebration over the late return is good news for parents. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

While one parent did the math, "the kid [that] this was read to, is all grown up now."

Whichever way you look at it, it's a victory for libraries and parents everywhere.

So for parents who've found library books hidden under their kids' beds, or slipped into cupboard cracks or even left at the bottom of a bag C if this story is anything to go by, it's better late, than never.

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