Fairfax County trashes idea of tossing books

WASHINGTON – After thousands of library books were found in the recycle bin in Fairfax County, officials are searching for solutions.

It started when some librarians for Fairfax County told Providence Supervisor Linda Smyth thousands of books were being tossed. Thee Providence area includes communities such as Merrifield, Oakton, Tysons Corner and Vienna. When Smyth went to check it out, she found books piled as high as her shoulders.

While some books showed heavy use, many were in new condition. The decision was quickly made to put a hault to tossing books while the incident was investigated.

The library system in Fairfax County has 21 libraries and takes in 20,000 new items a month. Cycling out dated or damaged books is nothing new. But it appears a new system that allows patrons to return books to any branch created a book tracking nightmare with the wrong books getting trashed.

The Library Board of Trustees has been told to “go back to the drawing board and take a better look at the mechanisms and policies,” says Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.

She said she believes many of the old or worn books should be donated to charity, either locally or overseas.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and WTOP on Twitter.

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