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A Quarter of a Million Books – Destroyed

To cut library costs, and bring their library into the digital age, the Fairfax County Public Library system has destroyed nearly 250,000 books. It is part of an effort to cuts costs, and allow the library to bring in eBooks and digital items.

As local tax bases are cut, so is funding to public libraries. Many states face this same dilemma, being forced to chose which books get shelf space and which ones must be discarded as there is a shortage of both money and space. Without money, more space cannot be added.

Most libraries have a “Friends” group that works to sell the discarded book, but investigations into this situation, show that the Fairfax Library did not ask for their assistance.

Fairfax County Collection Services Coordinator, Elizabeth Rhodes said their library system, “adds about 20,000 items each month and must remove an equal number of items in order to preserve space in the crowded libraries.”

Library director Sam Clay also noted: “it was a necessary part of bringing the libraries from “a print environment to a digital environment” and an unfortunate consequence of budget cuts. We’ve got decrease after decrease.”

Since this is national wide library issue, the one positive that might come from this situation, is that communities are being made aware of what libraries are facing. From budget cuts, to converting to the digital age, to attempts to bring a new generation into the library, it is an ongoing effort.

 

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