What the Hell Kind of Person Throws Out Books?!


Master says: You cannot find the Art of War. The Art of War must find you.


How’bout the San Francisco Public Library?

SF built a gorgeous new main library a few years back, filled with neat art and airiness and rooms for special causes like gay/lesbian or African-American studies. What they forgot to put in was room for all the books. That’s right; there was not enough shelf space for all the books the old building had housed, much less for new books. So…they threw a whole lot of (perfectly good, readable, valuable) books away, hoping that no one would find out. They didn’t even try to send them someplace else, because they wanted it to be hushed up. Someone did find out, but not until many books were gone. The outrage was not pretty, and the guy in charge deservedly lost his reputation and his position.

It’s a beautiful library, but I can’t go in without thinking of all the books sacrificed to image over substance.

Don’t tell me I missed the good parts! Think ya could map 'em out for me? Please? I especially love a good penile amputation. When coupled with the putting out of the eye, well…it just doesn’t get any better than that!

And to her I say, “All the more for me, Auntie!”

To deny that there are books or groups of books that deserve to be thrown in the trash is to deny the value of all the books out there that are actually good and don’t deserve to be thrown in the trash.

Publishing some words on bound paper doesn’t automatically make the words valuable.

I can’t even sell my books - it just feels wrong. I rely on libraries, but I still have many books. We did end up throwing out a set of encyclopedias from 1975 that had gotten wet and moldy in a storage unit, but I still was shocked (and managed to save one volume - the volume with the maps). The people who throw out books are probably the same people that abandon their pets. :mad:

I burned a book once. It shocked my book loving friend that was with me at the time. We were discussing books, had had a few drinks, and when we got to the “what books did you just hate” part of the discussion I walked to the book-shelf, pulled out the copy of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” that resided there, and tossed it into the flames.

And I’d do it again!

I wonder if this is where our former librarian ended up. Sounds like his modus operandi.

Why be a librarian if this is how you approach books and people. We were ***BEGGING ** * to keep our books in the department rather than on another campus, but instead, some ended up being thrown away. What utter bullshit.

I can understand if a library has limited space and needs to eliminate some copies for new stuff. But put out a little notice, a box with a “Free Books” sign, or hold a garage sale (as does East Brunswick Public Library), or donate. You maybe make a little money and what you can’t get rid of by then, well, *THEN * you do what you have to do. At least you’ve made a good-faith effort.
Christ, this happened nearly 6 years ago and I’m still angry and it’s making me fucking incoherent.

I generally donate my unwanted books to the local libraries or to the local Unitarian Church’s garage sale, but I have thrown away books which were damaged beyond readability… a couple paperbacks that were so old that they were literally falling apart in my hands, and a few that had fallen into the bathtub. (Yes, I read in the tub, doesn’t everyone?)

I’ve also released some books into the wild via BookCrossing.

I burned a German language textbook once. It was evil and deserved to die.

But throwing away books is just plain wrong. At least they could have recycled the paper. Think of the trees!

Just so everyone knows how bad it was, the SF library didn’t throw out just some books–I’ve seen photographs of basement rooms filled with heaps of books that were thrown out. Many, many dumpsters’ worth of perfectly good books. That’s how they got caught–there were too many to get rid of easily.

It was also about 6 years ago that this happened, brachy; maybe your librarian and mine were in cahoots.

A nearby library has closed due to mold. They donated a bunch of books to our little town library. The librarian told us to go through them before she started cataloging them. I replaced several of my paperbacks with hardbacks.

The only book I threw away was Shogun, and that’s only because it was literally falling apart. I’d read it to pieces.

Books are like American flags. Once they are no longer in good condition, they should be given a decent burial. But pitching them in the trash? I cannot comprehend.

I came very close to throwing away almost a hundred books, that had been read only once. They were taking up too much room in my house. The local library didn’t want them, the used bookstore owner didn’t want to take the time to sort through them unless I donated money along with the books. THEN, I discovered ebay. There’s no excuse for throwing away books, with ebay around.

I’ve thrown a couple of books into the trash, after struggling to get into them and discovering they were UTTER GARBAGE. They deserved to die an ignominious death.

I’ve abandoned a couple of books in public places, after deciding they were decidedly not to my taste but might find a home with someone who cares for that sort of stuff.

I have a cartonful of books waiting to be donated to the local library’s annual sale.

Other than that, it’s like cats: they move in with me, they’ve got a home for life.

Course some almost toss themselves.

I agree, it’s a crime against humanity. It’s reasonalby common in NYC, where people’s apartments are so small. Local libraries are very picky about what they will accept, and even the street book vendors won’t take things they don’t think will sell.

I regularly find piles of books on trash heaps - I sift through them and take what I want. If I’m culling just a few books from my collection, I’ll make sure to leave them where someone else can do the same (and people do). If I have a lot of books, especially textbooks, I send them off to Book 'Em, which provides books for prison inmates.


I nearly forgot—most hospitals have libraries, for patients and staff alike. Another place for potential donations . . .

It’s irrational of me, if a book is falling to bits, a new one make sense, but I’ve always felt quesy at destroying books. There’s been one book so awful I threw it away because I couldn’t bear to foist it off on someone else. There’s a lot of books I’m not going to read again, but are worth someone else reading once, but I haven’t managed to get them to a second hand shop yet.

I’ve been meaning to re-read some of the classics. Guess I’ll start with one of these two… :smack:

Great comment. Me, too. I have too many books to count. I really should pare through them and donate some.

As well as the dumpster-diving itself! :wink:

You can always donate them to thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, too. I buy lots of books at the Goodwill. I’ve gotten like-new hardbacks for $1.00!
I see books of all types there, even ancient textbooks and computer books. I know I’ve seen things like WordPerfect 4.0 instruction books. They must not throw anything away!