Omaha library finally receives children’s picture book that was due in 1985: ‘Better late than never!’

The Omaha Public Library announced last month that it had finally received the book it borrowed in 1985.

In January, the Nebraska State Library posted a photo of the children’s picture book “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gag on X. This book was originally published in her 1928 and entered the public domain in 2024.

The book was checked out in 1985 and had a deadline of June 27 of that year. When staff found the book, they took a photo and encouraged libraries to share this rare find.

“Better late than never!” The Omaha Public Library wrote on Jan. 26, “A.V. Sorensen Branch has discovered a long-awaited book in its shelves.”

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A staff member found the long-awaited book and took a photo, prompting libraries to share the rare find. (Omaha Public Library)

“The date stamp indicates the original collection on this item when the branch first opened.”

Fortunately for borrowers, even in 1985, the library system had a lenient policy on late returns.

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Divided image of book tag and book text

The book was checked out in 1985 and had a deadline of June 27 of that year. (Omaha Public Library)

Omaha Public Library Deputy Director Rachel Steiner told FOX News Digital that even though it was 40 years late, patrons would not have been charged so much.

“Prior to waiving fines, we were charging $0.25 a day for past-due items, and the cap on past-due fines was $5.00,” Steiner explained. “So this is the maximum amount you can be charged if you continue to collect overdue fines.”

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Wanda Gag’s “Millions of Cats” entered the public domain in 2024. (Omaha Public Library)

“If the item is not returned, we will charge a replacement fee for the item.”

Even before the advent of library digital systems, borrowers were not charged a fee at all.


Omaha Public Library Sorenson Branch Exterior

According to the library, the AV Sorensen branch received “a long-awaited book in its drop box.” (Google Maps)

“Because it was checked out before we moved everything to the computer, this item wasn’t even in our customer database, so we didn’t charge that person,” Steiner explained.

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