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Alameda County Wants Libraries To Stop Throwing Out Books

FREMONT (KPIX 5) -- The final chapter for many books at Fremont Main Library ends in the dumpster for recycling.

"My stomach went into a knot," said Dorothea Dorenz when she found out.

Dorenz is with the group Library Book Savers of Alameda County. She shared some photos taken by someone in the library showing dozens and dozens of books thrown away.

"They think that the library should only have new books," Dorenz said. "And that means that we don't have a variety of subject matter so much or depth of subject matter."

Manager of Fremont Libraries Sallie Pine said libraries regularly get rid of outdated books or ones in bad shape. And books only end up here if nonprofits don't want them.

To people who complain it's a waste to get rid of these books and that they're taxpayer property, Pine responded, "It is county property and the county has hired us to do our professional job."

Some examples of books that end up in those dumpsters is a calculus book that appears to be in pretty good condition on the inside, but has a tattered cover. Another is a new, but stained book from 2014.

Pine didn't know how many books they've thrown out and wouldn't even venture a guess.

Fremont resident Wei Hai echoed Oscar Wilde who said, "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."

"If it goes to the dumpster, it goes to waste so not good," Hai said.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty told KPIX 5 he wants to start a discussion about what else can be done with books instead of just throwing them away.

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