FERGUS -- Staff at the Fergus Library were shocked to find a long overdue library book was finally returned.

No one knows exactly when the book was checked out.

"We're guessing from 100 to maybe 50 years ago," chief librarian Rebecca Hine said.

It recently made a curious comeback.

The book is a lesser-known work published by Charles Dickens called "Martin Chuzzlewit." It was found in the library's return bin, with a Fergus Library name plate inside the cover.

Staff believe it's from the original collection, when the library opened in the early 1900s.

"It's really cool to have that sort of connection to the past and that connection to the community," branch supervisor Kirstin Maki said.

"Right on the name plate in the book, it does say two cents a day," Hine said. "I did a little bit of research and it looks like probably around 1940 that was the going rate."

These days, fines don't exceed $5. But at two cents a day since 1941, the remorseful returner could face of fine of about $580.

The library has multiple drop-off locations and books need to quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols, meaning staff have no idea who dropped the book off.

Library officials say whoever dropped it off won't be charged the late fee.

"Lots of us book nerds think it's really neat to have an old book like that around and imagine who has read it," Maki said.

Staff said it's not in the best shape, but it will be put on display to show off the library's long history.