Miranda Murdock couldn't return her library books on time because they were accidentally donated to a thrift shop and it took quite a while to find them all and buy them back.

Well, not really, but the story won Murdock, 12, a book on dinosaurs and a $10 check from the Springville Public Library.The library sponsored the "unusual excuse" contest as part of an amnesty week - when people with overdue books can return them without paying a fine.

"We got about 250 books back," said Paula Jones, head librarian. "We are quite pleased with the return."

A little more than 10 percent of those books were returned by members of one family. Phyllis Lloyd and her older children - Ester, 10; Susan, 8; Jonathan, 7; and Phillip, 4 - returned 26 books and won the prize for quantity. The children got a book on dinosaurs and a $10 check, which they hope to spend for gas if their parents agree to take them camping in southern Utah.

Murdock said she will have to split her check with her mother, who helped her concoct the thrift-shop fib.

With presentations and pictures complete, the children went off to celebrate in their own way - by checking out more books.