March 3rd, 2015

planet

how to throw away books

So here's this article from California:

RESIDENTS UPSET ALAMEDA COUNTY LIBRARY THROWS OUT THOUSANDS OF BOOKS - The Alameda County Public Library director says about 172,000 books were discarded over the past two years. She says they were forced to make shelf space after spending about $3 million on new books.

Eesh. They're calling for her head over there! I have to admit, that's pretty crappy. There are pictures of perfectly good kids storybooks in there.

In 2012 the man and I built a little free library in our front yard. It's been fun! But it has taught me that books are not all sacred. I was starting to feel like that, and then talked to another lady in Wichita who had one who told me that she DEFINITELY had the same idea. She used to run a used bookstore, and had people come in with their old books to sell or trade, and said the experience made her "quickly get over" the idea that you can never throw away a book.

Some books are just in awful shape - pages falling out, covers missing. So you say "good job book, you lived a great life and now you may rest in peace." and peace is a recycle bin.

Other books are just useless. Learn HTML 2, pass your 2006 security guard test. Nobody wants these.

If they're borderline, I'll donate them to either a thrift store or our local Friends of the Library. They have a big book sale every year so I assume they're happy to get the 17th copy of Twilight Breaking Dawn someone left on our shelf.

The bottom line is there are so many books printed every year and in the end they're all just paper. So we can't feel bad about getting rid of some. As a little free library steward you kinda become that gatekeeper, so everyone else can say "I'd NEVER throw away a book!" - but you know reality has to be a little different.