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Plastic surgeon to return library book overdue from 1970s, donate $500

Kanawha County library officials say Dr. Michael Kelly, a successful plastic surgeon in Florida, is returning an overdue library book from the 1970s and donating $500 to the library. (Photo Courtesy of Dr. Michael Kelly)

A Florida doctor who checked out “So You Want to Be a Doctor” from the Kanawha County Library and later became a successful plastic surgeon is returning the long overdue book he checked out in the 1970s and donating $500.

Dr. Michael Kelly, a graduate of Charleston High School, is a plastic surgeon in Miami and owns Miami Plastic Surgery, according to a news release from the library.

“It (the book) has probably moved with me 10 times during college, med school, residency, etc.,” Kelly said in an email to Eyewitness News. “I am extremely embarrassed that it has been checked out for so long.”

At 1 p.m. Friday at the main library on Capitol Street in Charleston, he plans to return the book along with a check to show gratitude for his success, library officials said.

As early as a student at Charleston High School, Kelly said, he wanted to be a doctor. He said he used to go to the Kanawha County Public library every week. He worked at the May Shoe Co., which was two blocks away on Quarrier Street and used to visit the library whenever he had time off from his job.

“I was and am a voracious reader, so I would scan the shelves looking for things to read. I saw “So You Want to Be a Doctor” and checked it out. I actually found it very helpful because it went through step by step what it took to become a physician, both academically and from a training perspective,” Kelly said.

Kelly said in an email to Eyewitness News that he found the book he borrowed from the library in the mid-1970s tucked away in a bookshelf at his home.

“I have been lifelong friends with (Charleston City Councilman) Andy Richardson and I mentioned wanting to bring the book back and make a donation to the library that meant so much to me growing up,” Kelly said. “The people of Charleston, the library and Charleston High were all so important in helping me to become a doctor and achieve the professional goals I set out for myself.

“He (Richardson) suggested we use the donation as a “teaching opportunity” for the kids in the community. I am sure the library will make good use of my donation, but more importantly, perhaps my story will inspire other kids in Charleston to follow their dreams and realize that reading is the most important pathway to success in life.”

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