Thursday, February 25, 2010

Out of the Past and Out of Print

Yesterday afternoon, I had an unusual conversation with a friend of mine. He invited me to his place where, in the back of his ute, he showed me a pallet of culled library school books from a primary school. He told me that his workplace decided to clean out their warehouse and found the pallet of books. How they got there, they weren't sure. But it was the first time they had cleaned the place out completely and decided to find out what was where. He was as amazed as I was (as well as his employers) to find the stash of books sitting there gathering dust. He said he offered to take some boxes off their hands; but when he found the entire pallet out side, he took them all, knowing they could be of better use somewhere else. And he knew that I knew where we could send them.

I won't put in the name of the school here in case somebody knows or works there. It's a small town inland from Bundaberg, Maryborough and south of Rockhampton. However, I wondered how long these books had been sitting in my friend's workplace. They had been boxed up and left there for goodness-knew how long! And the strange thing was: I remember learning to read from some of them at the Springwood Library. Oh! The memories of what I learnt to read was remarkable. I found the sight of some were amazing.

However, a lot of these books weren't in the best of shape. This has caused me to wonder about exactly what schools do with their out of date books in their libraries. Do they cull them (which is something that does happen, unfortunately, as books do go out of date; as does the information in them) and them dump them in a warehouse somewhere instead of recycling them? Or do they send them off, trusting they'll be taken care of and the books end up where these ones have wound up?

The fortunate thing about these books is I've decided to look into placing them somewhere. Being an avid Bookcrosser, I'll be registering some and hosting competitions on the site and giving them away. However, there will be books that I can't do that do; books that are too heavy to send off across the country - let alone across the miles - and so with those I'll be giving them to a worthy charity that will most definitely give them to people who do need them.

The strange thing I have found about these books is that the ones that were published just to entertain children were published by authors who have never written another book since that one. Yet, the educational books have had authors who were published again and again; then suddenly stopped as the children headed toward high school. It's been a real eye-opener as to how books in the past have been useful to a point, then very quickly not.

But it does make you think about what happens to the books that are not sold at the Library Sales and the local and state libraries have to get rid of. I know some are recycled; but what happens the others that are boxed and shipped off somewhere? Do they end up in warehouses like my friend's works? Or do they end up where they are supposed to? Wherever that may be.


  1. You know what I worry about? I worry that out-of-date textbooks, with bad information, are shipped to places desperate for books.

  2. Yes I know. This is why I'm going to go through all these books and throw out the out of date textbooks and give the children's books I can't register and give away on Bookcrossing to a worthy charity. It's better that way; also because I live a poor area, I know people can't always afford a brand new book for their kids; but learning to read shouldn't cost the earth.

  3. I am so find such a collection of books. It's like finding treasure. I like to imagine what those who first bought them thought when they received it.


  4. Actually, Anne, I found quite a few books I remember reading when I was teaching myself to read at the tender age of 4. So, I thought to keep them to show my niece (who's 10 now) so she knows how I learnt how to read. Ironically, one of the first book I remember reading was called: 'Howard Draws A Picture'.

  5. Wow to find all these books in one place must be out of my NerdyGirl wet dreams! I found a book from Iran a few weeks ago (the owner's address was written on the jacket cover). The book was Lolita and almost all pages were crossed out and notes inserted here and there referring to how blasphemous this book was. I think it's cool to know that the book had a history before it reached me.

    However, like Lilithcat I worry that these books could be used by students who didn't have enough money. I think it's admirable that you're ensuring this doesn't happen. Keep on shining that halo ;)

    ~ Jaded16
    (Don't knock. Jaded16 is always home)