December 5 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A book borrowed from London’s largest music library in 1954 has finally been returned - 59 years overdue.
The Royal Academy of Music passed back the copy of the music score of Tchaikovsky’s fourth symphony to Westminster Music Library after it received the text in an anonymous donation.
Senior library assistant Anthony McDonald described receiving the book: “It was quite a surprise. I did do a bit of a double take when I saw the label and it said 1954.
“It was quite strange to see such an old stamp.”
He added the library did not think the book was rare but could not be sure. “It doesn’t actually have a publisher on it so it might be rare,” he said.
The penalty for overdue books at the library is 25p per day meaning the score - which was due to be returned on June 14, 1954 - could have wracked up charges in excess of £5,000 had the library not capped fines at £10.
Mr McDonald confirmed the book would go back out on the shelves, and could be loaned again perhaps as early as next week.
Westminster Music Library, in Victoria, is open to the public six days a week and has an extensive catalogue of books, scores and sheet music as well as journals ranging from Early Music to NME.