LIBRARY MUSINGS: Why you can throw away books

Grand Forks and District Public Library
By Grand Forks and District Public Library
September 21st, 2015

Why it’s okay to throw away books

For hundreds of years, books in Europe were made from parchment – which is a processed animal skin – and the text was copied out painstakingly by hand. Because of these processes, the manufacture of books was expensive and time consuming, making the finished product very valuable and precious. Then, paper came from Asia, replacing parchment and making book creation a little more economical. After that, printing was invented, reducing the hours that printing took and making it easier to publish many copies of the same text. Now, producing thousands of copies of a book is fast and cheap. Self-publishing services have cropped up all over the world: at the Edmonton Public Library, you can even print and bind your own book right in the library.

Thus, modern technology has overcome the obstacles that used to make books so precious. Books that should still be treated with great care are the ones that are important to you, very rare or valuable, sentimental, or borrowed from someone else (or the library!). Books that you do not need to feel guilty about recycling (or upcycling into a cool book craft) are things like outdated textbooks, mass-produced books that are getting old or worn, or anything that isn’t in good condition. Really, it’s okay to throw away books. Librarians are the sworn protectors of books, but we all throw away hundreds of books every year. That’s the only way to keep enough space for all the new books!

So the next time that you’re going  through your books to donate to the library or a second-hand store, have a good look at each one and ask “would someone else want this?” to make sure that you aren’t donating it just because you’re scared to throw it away. We are so grateful for donations at the library, but it can get tiring weeding through all of the boxes of dirty, junky, old books to get to the few treasures buried underneath.

Happening at the library:

Chair Yoga

Saturday, 19 September 2:45-4:45: Join local yoga instructor Lisa Frenette for a FREE class of Chair Yoga. Wear comfortable clothes. Suitable for all ages and experience levels. 

Canning Talk

Thursday, 17 September 6:30-8:00: Join us at the library for an evening discussion around all things canning. Shre recipes, tips, and techniques. Bring a jar of something you have canned to be part of our 4th Annual Canning Exchange. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided. 

Categories: General

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