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Family Returns Pair of Books 100 Years Overdue, Kentucky Library Says ‘Nobody’s in Trouble’

The Louisville Free Public Library noted that the family could have incurred about $7800 in fines with inflation, but the library recently became fine-free

<p>Louisville Public Library</p> Borrowed books from the Louisville Free Public Library

Louisville Public Library

Borrowed books from the Louisville Free Public Library

A family returned a pair of borrowed books to a Kentucky library — a hundred years too late.

The Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) shared on Facebook that two books checked out by the family of music legend Morris Perelmuter King in the 1920s were finally returned to their St. Matthews branch on Monday.

The LFPL said King checked out a book titled "Famous Composers and their Works" in 1924 when he was just 14 years old, but never brought it back. However, King’s family told the LFPL that the book helped spark his interest in music, which would eventually take him to Sin City.

King initially played the violin in the Louisville Orchestra before moving west to start his band and release new music. He eventually became headliner in the bright lights of the early Las Vegas strip, and King was even a close friend of the infamous Rat Pack.

<p>Louisville Public Library</p> Michael Perelmuter King (left), Mark Perelmuter and their family members pictured returning the books

Louisville Public Library

Michael Perelmuter King (left), Mark Perelmuter and their family members pictured returning the books

Related: Overdue Library Book Checked Out in 1927 Returned by Mystery Man After Almost 100 Years

The musician had been born in 1909 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, and his mother, Miriam “Mary” Perelmuter had also checked out a book covering the Russian language in 1927 and never returned it, LFPL shared. Mark Perelmuter, Miriam’s grandson, told local news station WLKY that she had checked out several books back then to learn English.

"The number of books she checked out as an immigrant that could barely speak the language at some point is a testament to what it can do to lift people up," Perelmuter told the outlet.

<p>Louisville Public Library</p> The two books checked out, including the book 'Famous Composers and their Works'

Louisville Public Library

The two books checked out, including the book 'Famous Composers and their Works'

King died in 1993 at the age of 83. However, it wasn’t until 30 years later that his son, Michael Perelmuter King found the books in his L.A. home. Michael, alongside his cousin, Perelmuter, and family and friends, finally returned the books to the St. Matthews Library.

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"We are not the owners of this property. We were merely custodians of this property. And as a custodian, we had a duty to return it to its rightful owners,” Perelmuter told WLKY. “And the fact that it brought together our family and brought together all of us at this very happy moment is well worth it."

<p>Louisville Public Library</p> The two books, which were originally checked out in the 1920s

Louisville Public Library

The two books, which were originally checked out in the 1920s

“I’d like to think my dad would want these books returned to their rightful home,” Michael added to local outlet WAVE. “But who knows? I know he got his use out of them.”

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The LFLP noted that the family could have incurred about $7800 in fines with inflation, but the library recently transitioned to being fine-free to “encourage people to return long overdue materials.”

"We don't have overdue fines anymore," branch manager Kate Leitner told WHAS11. "Nobody's in trouble. We're just so happy that they brought the books back. It makes it very special to hear their story, but also for their family to get together like this and celebrate the memories."

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