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Neighbor Sees Dumpster Full Of Books: 'It's Very Sad'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After finding a dumpster full of books outside a Chicago public high school, residents want to know why.

CBS 2's Vi Nguyen has the story from Senn High School.

Chicago Public Schools said it is still trying to get to the bottom of the matter.

The district would only said that it is aware of it and that it is looking into what neighbors said; that a dumpster was set up nearby days ago. Neighbors took pictures and shared the images on social media, but by Tuesday morning, the dumpster was alreadygone.

Classic novels including The Great Gatsby, Hiroshima among others, were found in a dumpster by a woman who asked to remain anonymous.

"We were walking our dog and we just noticed the dumpster with a pile of books," said the woman. "I said 'oh my god this is so sad.'"

She and her boyfriend went through the pile of hundreds of books, grabbing what they could, to bring to a community library nearby.

"It's funny we even ended up putting it in the Senn Community Library and it was empty," she said.

The woman lives about a block away from Senn High School, which is under renovation. CBS 2 found that the school also shares an address with the Rickover Naval Academy, which is moving to Portage Park.

But regardless of where the books came from, the woman knows they could have been used somewhere else.

"It's crazy that books that were really important to our childhood are looking brand new and being thrown away and it's like what's wrong with them," added the neighborhood.

Shortly after CBS 2 started asking questions, a man who identified himself as a CPS employee showed up. He said the district sent him to find out who authorized the books to be tossed out and why.

He said CPS does have a process they need to follow if books are being donated, but he couldn't explain where the books were headed.

"Maybe there were efforts made. I  don't know. If there were, great. If there weren't, shame on you," the neighborhood said.

Others, like the manager at a cafe on Broadway said she would have been willing to pick up those books for their community library, had she known.

"Just thinking the impact it could have made on someone reading those, and it's just left in the dumpster," said Cyntisha Coats, manager at Re-Wired Cafe. "It's very sad."

It's unclear how long the books have been sitting in the dumpster before it was moved. CBS 2 has learned that it was possible that the books were going through a weeding and recycling process. Senn is undergoing renovations to its library and as part of that process, the school needed to take out books either in surplus or werew outdated.

Click here to read the district's policy on book recycling and weeding.

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