250,000 Books Head to the Landfill


Book lovers, avert your eyes: the Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia took a quarter million books and threw them in the trash.

It’s common for libraries to prune their collections, getting rid of outdated or unpopular books in favor of ones that circulate more widely, but this is an unusually high number thanks to budget cuts.

It’s true that such books can often be donated or sold cheaply, but the larger point is that when you “eliminate the requirement for fully trained librarians, reduce branch staff, and cut the amount of time children’s librarians spend helping families inside their libraries,” you make it impossible for libraries to function optimally.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →