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Kuala Lumpur - Malaysians in central Pahang state have failed to return more than 20 000 books including some rare and limited editions from the state library, it was reported.
Some of the books were taken from the Pahang Public Library as long as 28 years ago, state library acting director Faridzah Jaafar said.
Several of the missing books are rare and printed only as limited editions and as such are practically irreplaceable, she said.
"We have tried many ways; some of the borrowers we contacted by letters or memos, some through the telephone, but it is difficult," the Bernama news agency quoted her as saying late on Wednesday.
"Some of them have moved out of Kuantan, Pahang, some admitted the books they borrowed were damaged and some had even died.
"Even more shocking, some of the borrowers admitted they were 'keeping' the books on purpose, because the books were so rare," she said.
The library has an "amnesty month" which is held to enable borrowers to return all overdue books without being fined.
"All they need to do is put the books in a special bin outside the library. They don't have to worry about being known or blacklisted by the library management," she said. - Sapa-AFP