What’s going to happen to the books?

It’s normal (and necessary) for “weeding” of old, damaged or unpopular book stock to be done by Library staff on an ongoing basis.  But, with the closure and divestment of hundreds of libraries across the UK, swingeing cuts to library budgets and councils that insist on replacing shelves of books with co-located services and computers – we, the taxpayers who bought them, ask “what happens to the books?

Points to ponder | When a branch library closes, where do the books go?

What does Lincs CC do?

Sell via Internet to retailers of used books, or sell on eBay
Sell to the public and/or donate to charities
Destroy – send to commercial waste management services, to be pulped
Re-absorb – into the Library Authority’s  book stock, for supply to its other public libraries

But the impact is not limited to the book supply:

People are being selectively ‘dumped’ by their Council – when their access to books (the local public library) is closed, de-staffed, or its service significantly reduced.

Some links (re. the library books) for reference:

eBay | Benefits of Ex-library Books

NAG statement on the disposal of books

2013 “Where on earth are all the books?”

2013 – Town Hall faces criticism over books ‘giveaway’ from axed library

2013 – A library is about more than books but a library without books is not a library

2012 – Destruction of Manchester library books halted after writers’ campaign

2012 | Wigan – Probe over dumped library books

2012 – Fewer and older books for library visitors as service feels the strain

2012 – Councils slash spending on new library books : Research by The Northern Echo using freedom of information powers reveals local authorities in the region have cut spending on library books by 34 per cent in five years  http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/10039037.Councils_slash_spending_on_new_library_books/

2012 – Books in public libraries

USA | Davenport Public Library Dumps 4,000 Books; Other Libraries Do Same

2011 – Historians fear for the future of ‘irreplaceable’ collection

And, if people argue that everything can now be digitised, it can’t :
See > (example) via Twitter | “… and more gorgeous stuff like this (Nox by Anne Carson). None of which can be digitised.” @DominicNewbould   pic.twitter.com/Ien7CraYAU


With thanks to national library campaigner Shirley Burnham for this research into what happens when a public library is closed.

2 thoughts on “What’s going to happen to the books?

  1. Dear Angela Montague, The following paragraph is part of an email that I sent to Jonathan Platt. I read in today’s edition of the Bourne Local that as Bourne library was being relocated an archive of bound editions of The Local newspaper and Lincolnshire Life were saved from the skip by library staff, who fortunately realized their historial value for study and reference. Thoughts of what may become landfill made me think of burning books, which proceeded many dreadful political decisions. So dumping was definitely on the cards on this occasion!

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