School library book returned, 63 years late

Just Regional
Dec 5, 2016 2 mins read

A rather overdue library book has been returned to a North Walsham school library 63 years after it was borrowed – by the student who took it out in 1953.

The anonymous former North Walsham High School for Girls student, now in her 70s, discovered the book – a 1929 copy of Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson – when clearing out clutter in her house, and was shocked to find it stamped with a 1953 return date.

She returned the book to North Walsham High School, which replaced the girls’ high school and Paston Grammar when they were phased out. The former site of the two schools is now Paston Collge.

Now, present-day students can enjoy the author’s tales of travelling in southern France with his donkey companion.

The school library is appealing for anyone else who might have a long-overdue book to return it – and are promising that no late fines will be levied.

“We don’t charge overdue fines at the school library, and whilst we don’t lose many books, there must have been a few which have been inadvertently retained by students over the years,” said school librarian Liz Sawyer. “It would be really nice to get some of them back, especially older books which we might not have on the shelves today. The lady who brought back the Robert Louis Stevenson book apologised for not returning it sooner – but better late than never!”

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes is Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of his 120-mile solo hike through the sparsely populated Cévennes mountains in south-central France in 1878.  His only companion was Modestine, a stubborn donkey with which he has a difficult relationship, but eventually grows fond of.

  • the-title-page-from-travels-with-a-donkey-in-the-cevennes

    NWHS librarian Liz Sawyer with the overdue book from 1953 which has been-returned. PICTURES: ANDY NEWMAN

    NWHS librarian Liz Sawyer with the overdue book from 1953 which has been returned.





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