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Old 11 September 2013, 08:09 AM
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Reading Virginia county library system destroyed 250,000 of its own books

The Fairfax County Public Library system in Virginia reportedly destroyed 250,000 books as part of an effort to revamp its system and cut costs.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...3a8_story.html
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Old 11 September 2013, 02:48 PM
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A lot of the cuts in the Fairfax library system is in the children's section. Fairfax county libraries give a lot of space to children's books, have specialized children's librarians and train all librarian's on youth services. I'm not familiar with the entire school system, but atleast at the elementary level, children get a lot of that from the school too. The Fairfax county spends money on libraries within the schools, and has special classes for kids who are lagging in their reading skills, and has advanced reading material for kids who are ahead of their class. Fairfax county's pass rate in the standardized tests is well above the national average, even with the new standards

Since the real estate prices dropped, the county started getting less income from taxes, they had to look for places to cut. And, this is where a lot of people see a lot of redundancy. Tax payers are paying to buy and maintain the children's library section in the schools, as well as the libraries. Although, you do see children using the libraries, they are getting most of their materials through schools. If the children's services were curtailed a bit, people won;t really miss it. They should certainly keep the young adults section and toddler books. However, early reader's is huge in my local library. I'm eyeballing it but it's easily 300 sq ft. It takes more real estate than the young adults section (although YA probably has more books) Plus they have 2 shelving units full of DVDs and videos for kids

The library has been trying to sell the books off for a long time now. Every other month there is a sale at the library. I am guessing they reached a point where they couldn;t sell the books no more. I wish they could have done something else like ship the books off to other school systems that need to books rather than put them in the dumpster.
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Old 11 September 2013, 03:35 PM
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Seems like they could pick one Saturday a month or whatever, put the books on tables outside and let people take what they want. Maybe put a donation jar out also.
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Old 11 September 2013, 03:37 PM
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We have had much the same thing in Cobb County, GA. They try to sell what they can, but there are lots of books that cannot be sold. Some get truly outdated, some no longer have demand (every branch had at least a dozen of each of the latter Harry Potter books, but a few will do now, and adults give collected sets to kids who show any interest is reading, so it can be hard to sell used copies), etc. I have seen hundreds of books being dumped, and I was invited to take what I wanted, but I had no use for most of them either. We readers have it in our sinews that every book should be treasured and valued, but we must acknowledge that there is a lot of surplusage, and only so much ability to keep and maintain books.
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Old 11 September 2013, 04:15 PM
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If they genuinely tried to give the books away in multiple fashions, including announcing that they were in danger of being thrown out and asking for people to take them for free and for volunteer organizations to try to get them to somewhere in the world where they might be wanted, and they still couldn't find any takers, then I agree they would be entitled to dump them.

But the impression I got from the story was that, while they may have held occasional book sales, no real attempt had been made to give the books away before they were thrown out.
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Old 11 September 2013, 06:39 PM
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I don't know of a single library that doesn't destroy books. Granted, this is a huge volume and could probably have been prevented, but there does come a point in the life of most books where the only way to deal with them is to recycle (assuming you can remove the non-recyclable parts without too much expense) or toss them.

Seaboe
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Old 11 September 2013, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I don't know of a single library that doesn't destroy books. Granted, this is a huge volume and could probably have been prevented, but there does come a point in the life of most books where the only way to deal with them is to recycle (assuming you can remove the non-recyclable parts without too much expense) or toss them.

Seaboe
This made me think that the most sensible disposal method for unwanted books would be to shred and burn them in power generation plants adapted for refuse. This led me to the mental image of a book-burning of copies of Fahrenheit 451, which image I found wickedly amusing.
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Old 11 September 2013, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
This led me to the mental image of a book-burning of copies of Fahrenheit 451, which image I found wickedly amusing.
I don't know that it's any more "wickedly amusing" than the notion that burning a flag is considered both an unconscionable act of disloyalty and a respectfully proper way of disposing of an undisplayable flag. Context is everything.
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Old 11 September 2013, 08:13 PM
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At my library we had to dump several hundred boxes of books a few months ago. We'd try selling them and we'd try giving them away but in the end space was at a premium and the books had to go. In our case though the majority of the books we dumped had not been purchased by us. People seem to see Thou Shalt Not Throw Away Books as the 11th Commandment. The alternative for many is leaving them at their friendly neighbourhood library.

Seriously people, do you really think the library is so hard up for books that they are going to catalog your discarded university text books? From 1979? Ah, you say, just put them out on your sale table. Righty-O, they'll be beating a path to our door. Or not.
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Old 11 September 2013, 08:59 PM
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Oh dear doyc. Donated materials. There was a doctor who could not understand why we had not put his papers into the general collection. It was a box of notebooks and study models (plaster casts of teeth). No one cared! There was a non-profit that took the extra copies of our journal for dental schools in Africa but I filled a lot of recycling bins with stinky books and journals from the basement of deceased members.
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Old 11 September 2013, 10:33 PM
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The only thing I'm concerned about is whether they try to make sure they aren't inadvertently destroying books that are endangered species or rare copies. We had a lot of 5 and 10 cent used library books when I was a kid and some of them were pretty rare. They weren't rare in the sense that someone had noticed they were rare or actually wanted them but just that there were few copies in existence. Now, I know we can't keep copies of every book ever printed (this means you LoC) but it seems like since printed books are eventually going to go the way of the dodo we ought to at least try to keep what we have now.
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Old 11 September 2013, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Virginia county library system destroyed 250,000 of its own books
Next up: Virginia county library system destroys 250,000 of a nearby library's books. Say they won't stop until all books are destroyed.
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Old 12 September 2013, 01:12 AM
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You'd amazed at how hard it is, sometimes, to give books away. I was at a recent ComicCon, helping a group give away free books to any and all takers - we had boxes and boxes of free science fiction stuff. I stood there for hours, acting as a carnival 'barker' to attract people in to give them free books & it was hard to get folks to stop, much less take a book. You'd think folks at a sci-fi/fantasy con would dig free sci-fi/fantasy books, but I know there were leftover books. Towards the end, we were encouraging people to take anything they might be vaguely interested, or even extras of a book they already own, just to give to a friend.
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Old 12 September 2013, 08:56 AM
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Our local library system has a big sale every year where they sell off their hold books. Buyers turn up with boxes and trollies so that they can load several boxes of books they have brought, and wheel them out. Other times of the year, cancelled items and donated items not worth putting into the library collection are sold at local libraries. I am not sure what happens to the ones that don't sell. As our city council is big on recycling, I can only assume that they are sent off for recycling.
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Old 12 September 2013, 09:10 AM
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here are the book sales held by the fairfax county library. They have several of them each month
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Old 12 September 2013, 02:10 PM
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I wonder how long they've been doing that? I lived in Fairfax in high school (early '90s) and spent a lot of time at the library, and I don't recall any book sales. I probably would have spent most of my allowance there if they had had them back then.
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Old 12 September 2013, 02:31 PM
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SPL (Seattle Public Library) sells almost all of the books donated to it. In fact, you don't donate them to the library at all, you donate them to the Friends of the Library, at their warehouse/sale facility. However, they won't accept paperback romances (even non-series ones). I can understand the ban on the series romances (which don't sell for enough to make organizing them worthwhile), but some of the non-series ones are pretty rare (Red Adam's Lady, for example). Those would sell.

The Friends of the Library have two massive sales each year. If you're a member, you get early admission. I went once. Since then, I avoid them like the plague. First, because it's overwhelming. Second, because finding anything in particular is impossible. Third, because I decided all my books have to fit on my shelves, so if I were to buy a lot of new books, I'd have to get rid of a lot of old books.

Seaboe
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Old 13 September 2013, 10:28 PM
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At one time I was the security guard in an office building which housed a number of law firms, among other things. The sheer number and bulk of the law books they would dispose of after the new year was staggering. I'm sure the books were expensive, too - thick, heavy, hardbound books - but more-or-less worthless once they are out of date.

I'd like to think they use electronic books now - less expensive, easy to update, easy to search. But judging by what a lawyer friend of mine tells me, most older attorneys (who of course tend to be the ones in charge) are not exactly the most computer-savvy people - she was about the only one in her office who made extensive use of her own desktop; most prefer to leave anything involving keyboards to secretaries. So I wouldn't be surprised if many firms keep extensive physical libraries. (Of course, the people who do most of the actual research are generally younger and probably much happier with doing it online.)

The San Diego Friends of the Library are holding book sales almost constantly (almost any time the library is open). I believe the vast majority of books sold are donated, though some may be stuff the library is getting rid of. I scan through them when I visit, and occasionally make a purchase, but most of the books I want tend to be the ones people keep.
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Old 13 September 2013, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramblin' Dave View Post
I wonder how long they've been doing that?
At least since the seventies. We would come home with boxes and boxes of books. I don't know why my mother put up with that. (OTH, maybe she liked it too.)
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Old 14 September 2013, 12:22 AM
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We have one of the largest library sales in Florida. The Friends of the Library claims they have over 250,000 items in their warehouse (and I wouldn't be surprised if that's true), which is open twice a year to the public for sales. The sales last five days, and on the final day literally everything in the warehouse is 10 cents. Most of the items are actually donations, either things that have been donated to the library but can't be used, or things people have donated in the drop bin in front of the warehouse. I've gotten a lot of obscure and odd texts and titles, as well as enough hardcover science books to break my back every time I move house.
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