by John Ramos

CLAYTON (KPIX 5) — Hundreds of unsold books have been tossed in a recycling dumpster after they were donated to the Clayton library, prompting some clashing opinions on what should be done with the books.

The library held a book sale Sunday to try and unload the books, but there were not a lot of takers.

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A photo showing the leftover books in the dumpster on local blog Claycord.com generated passionate comments:

“Omg!!! Wrong on so many levels”
“What a waste!”
“Unbelievable. Shame on the library.”

“There’s got to be somebody that could use the books,” said Clayton resident Scott Hayward. “Just to practice reading.”

Hayward came by the dumpster to snap his own photo, and left without taking any books himself. And that’s the problem, according to the library.

“My take is the whole thing is stupid,” said Dave Atkinson of the Contra Costa Library Foundation.

Atkinson said one room in the library was full of thousands of books for sale. By Sunday, they were practically giving them away but no one wanted the old books that ended up in the dumpster.

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“Somebody spotted them and said, ‘my God, you can’t do that to books.’ Sure we can. Come at 4 o’clock if you like books.”

Why is it so hard to throw out a book? Maybe it’s because it’s not a thing at all, but someone’s thoughts and ideas. And those don’t lose their value just because the paper gets old.

But perhaps those who deal with thousands of books have to take a more practical approach than that.

“If nobody wants ’em, this is what you gotta do, recycle,” said Clayton resident Cheryl Long. “But see, at least they’re recycling.”

If you’d like to save books from this fate, you’re in luck: there’s another sale in April.

Bring a pickup truck … or two.

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The foundation’s book sales raise about $16,000 dollars a year for the Clayton library, which is used to buy new books.