Where’s Spot? Not seen in Essex library for more than 20 years

Colchester Library. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Colchester Library. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Some overdue books have not been seen for more than 22 years according to new figures from Essex Libraries – as fees for late items are set to rise.

The 30th anniversary edition of Where's Spot? by Eric Hill, published by Warne. Picture: PA PHOTO/WA

The 30th anniversary edition of Where's Spot? by Eric Hill, published by Warne. Picture: PA PHOTO/WARNE - Credit: PA

The most overdue book – an introduction to bibliography for literary students – was checked out on November 26, 1993.

The loanee may now want to look under the sofa and through the bookshelf for the item after the library service announced it would be putting up its late fees, following an eight-year freeze.

Among the other items missing from the library collection is popular children’s book Where’s Spot withdrawn on September 13, 1995, and a collection of cookery books on French pastries – while one reader may be dreamy, having not returned Dreams and their Meanings since the same date.

The fun figures come with a word of warning from Essex County Council, who say some may simply have their files missing as systems have changed over the years.

But they also come as a warning with the overdue charges review.

The authority has held a review looking at charges set by other local authorities, with Essex fees having stayed the same since 2009.

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The fees, which have stayed the same since 2009, are set to change after a recent review of comparable charges made by other local authorities.

Currently there is a 10p per day charge for overdue books and CDs, but this will double to 20p a day for each day the issuing library is open for the first week, £1.40 per week thereafter, capped at £7.

DVD hire will rise from £1.50 for one week to £2, CD hire will stay at £1 but for one week’s hire instead of three, while children’s audiobook hire will rise from 80p for three weeks to £1.

There are also increases to printing, photocopying and fax charges, and language courses, while a £1 charge is introduced for replacement library cards.

Susan Barker, county councillor for libraries, said: “Library fees have stayed the same for eight years, so these changes are necessary, especially as Government funding continues to fall and will be phased out completely by 2020.

“Any income from fees is invested back into the service so we can continue to offer a range of library services across the county.

“Customers will still be able to borrow books and reserve items in stock free of charge.”

The new charges come into effect on July 3.

For details on the charges, visit www.libraries.essex.gov.uk/news/fees-and-charges-are-changing