Goya by Dr Xavier de Salas
David Black has returned the library book – more than 50 years after borrowing it as a schoolboy.

A forgetful reader has returned a library book - more than 50 years after borrowing it.

Library bosses waived the £2762.55 fine David Black had racked up after he returned the book during a fees amnesty earlier this month. It was overdue by a total of 18,417 days.

The 60-year-old arts critic borrowed the work on the artist Goya, by Dr Xavier de Salas, on 22 September 1962 when he was just a schoolboy, using a library card belonging to his mother Winnie.

The book spent a number of years in his attic after slipping his mind on many occasions.

"I completely forgot to return it. It would pop up every now and again but each time it would slip my mind to actually do it," he said.

"When I read about the amnesty I decided I must do it, if only to see the librarian's face.

"I've been a keen library user all my life, they are a great resource. It feels good to have brought it back. I can sleep more soundly," he added.

Black returned the book to the Fine Art Library in Edinburgh, which saw more than 4,000 books returned after launching the amnesty.

A cap of £10 is now imposed on overdue books in Edinburgh libraries.

"This is a wonderful story and, of course, the Fine Art Library are very happy to have their book back after 50 years!" said Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's culture and sport convener.

"The fines amnesty for National Libraries Day has proven a real success. We've been delighted at how many people have taken the opportunity to come back into their local library."

In December 2011, a copy of the Victorian miscellany Good Words for 1888 was returned to the now-defunct Troutbeck Institute library in Cumbria after 123 years.