The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) wants to set the record straight after concerns that it purged over 1.4 million books.
The issue was raised after a part-time library employee spoke with the Journal Gazette saying the library was quietly shredding tens of thousands of materials.
An online petition was created soon after the article was published to try to stop the book purge. The petition now has 1300 signatures.
In response, the ACPL is explained the situation with a document titled, “Where Have All the Books Gone Myth Vs. Fact” which breaks down how the number of books was inaccurately calculated and the process for discarding books.
“There has been a lot of misinformation in the community about how the library is managing the collection so we thought it was really important to put the facts out there because a lot of information has been taken out of context and very much piecemeal.” said ACPL Director Greta Southard.
The document explains that the listed large number ofbooks came from incorrect data provided to the Indiana State Library. The ACPL says in that data, books were double counted, electronic books were included, and the reporting was not consistent. They said they will have clean data moving forward. The actual number of books discarded has not been released.
“The biggest myth that I have heard is that the library is shredding books, and burning books. No, we aren’t doing that, but when items are removed from the collection, because of use, they’re falling apart, whatever the reason is they are being removed, many of those items have a secondary life in the community,” explained Southard.
The ACPL says discarded books that are in good condition are given to the Friends of the ACPL and donated to various organizations. Books that are severely damaged or are non-fiction with outdated information are recycled.
The library says they get rid of books every so often to make room for storage.
WANE 15 is reaching out to those involved in the petition and the Indiana State Library about ACPL’s response.