But that's not what this post is about. This post is about books. After the waving and honking, I made a shortcut back to my classroom by cutting through the school library. I noted piles of books on top of the stacks, and, of course, I wondered if any were possible candidates for my "altered books" project. Some looked old, but others not so much. I noted in particular a gorgeous copy of The Ocean World by Jacques Cousteau that I wanted to keep myself.
Turns out, these books were all being DISCARDED. Some were published before a certain date and therefore possibly contained lead. I understand that these need to be trashed. Other books contained outdated or obsolete information. But many were just books that had been republished with an updated look or format, or books that had too many duplicates in the library, or books that were rarely signed out and therefore were being removed for space reasons. There was nothing WRONG with these books.
So I asked - if these are being removed from the library, can't they be either :
*given away to students who have little resources,
*donated to a rummage sale or used book sale, or
*sent to a part of the world that can use any books (Haiti, parts of Africa, Afghanistan, etc)
But I was told no. The auditor was watching them and these books had to be DESTROYED. NO CHOICE. (New York State Laws and Regulations and all that jazz.) As an avid reader, it broke my heart.
My question to you: what happens to old books in your school/library/state? Do they get handed down to folks in need? Or trashed as miserably as these? Why is there no sweet place to send old books out to pasture? I'm so sad...
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An aside: A really sweet quirky old book about a very unusual library : The Abortion by Richard Brautigan. And a much newer but also sweet, charming book I just finished last week: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What's on your summer reading list?