June 11, 2018

Keep books out of your trash cans, please


Avert your eyes, bibliophiles: What you’re about to see (well, read) will make you sick.

It seems Wichita’s Woodland Elementary School decided to get rid of some books by tossing them into a nearby dumpster. As Suzanne Perez Tobias writes for the Wichita Eagle, no one seems to have thought much of it until Lynette Evans, walking her dogs one morning, spotted a collection of more than a hundred math books and dictionaries poking out of the trash.

Evans proceeded to document the find, posting a picture on a neighborhood Facebook page. The outrage was instant, with dozens of local residents expressing their disdain. Hadn’t the school thought to donate or recycle? “I was kind of concerned, because it’s summertime and there’s kids around here that might like some books to read or even just to color in,” Evans said.

Susan Arensman, a spokesperson for the Wichita district, chalked it up to “a miscommunication” of district policies. She added, “[The books] have been removed from the dumpster and placed in recycling bins or removed so they can be properly discarded following our district protocol.” She also explained that a majority of the trashed books were from “teachers’ personal collections and not district items.”

Wichitan Lisa Aguilera managed to glean about forty books from the trash, which she donated to local Little Free Libraries. “I’m not trying to teach the current curriculum with these books. I was just trying to give to those in need.”

Listen, don’t trash a book. Even if it’s in pieces, it still has enough life left in it to be read and enjoyed. And there’s almost certainly someone who’ll want it.

And in the meantime, maybe it’s time we brought the notion of the garbage library to the US.



Michael Seidlinger is the Library and Academic Marketing Manager at Melville House.