A selection of the books that grace my physical shelves. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

A selection of the books that grace my physical shelves. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

What to do with old library books?

If Library book sales won’t cut it a new solution may be needed

I have always been a big reader.

If you ask parents, childhood friends and even teachers, they will tell you I read a lot and sometimes at inappropriate times. It turns out that trying to sneak in an extra chapter of Redwall while your Grade 3 teacher is trying to teach you math is considered ‘poor form.’

As a child and teenager, the library was one of my favourite places to go after school. I’d browse through its shelves looking for works of fantasy, science fiction and occasionally history books. Attending the Edmonton Public Library’s book sale every year was a delight because I got to convince my parents to buy me some new books I hadn’t read.

I confess, up until last week I hadn’t considered what happened to the books that didn’t get taken to a new home.

On a tip from the public I headed for the CRD’s South Cariboo Landfill where I found 100-odd books scattered haphazardly among the landfill’s woodpile.

Reporter objectivity aside, it was a distressing sight. Boxes of books, many of them in good condition, were lying in the snow and mud and tangled up in the wood. It seemed almost callous to me.

I knew there was more to the story and as I reported last week, there are few options for disposing of unwanted library books.

Our area librarians, such as 100 Mile’s Shelby Powell, try to hold book sales but the pandemic made them impossible. With our library running out of space to store these books their best option was to take them to the landfill where they were ground up into fuel for a power plant.

One thing Powell said that stuck with me is that programs to find these books new homes do exist in the Lower Mainland. However, the cost to ship them down is prohibitive and apparently, these programs do not offer any form of assistance to our northern libraries.

It has been suggested also that the CRD donate these books to schools or our local bookstore, Nuthatch Books. In my estimation neither option is realistic. Most of the books I saw would not have been of interest to children while the Nuthatch’s owner Danielle Stewart has expressed to me in the past that she often can’t take on more used books, especially around Christmas.

Judging by the response this story has received on social media, many people in 100 Mile House feel that something can and should be done. Whether that is a classic library book sale or the installation of community bookshelves, it will have to be something the community supports.

Otherwise, our unused library books will be consigned to the pyre.

100 Mile House

Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up
Pop-up banner image