Library Patron Miffed About Weeded Books

Jersey City NJ resident Juan Albornoz describes himself as a "pain in the butt," and is well-known to many city officials for being, as one unnamed council aide said, a "person with an opinion on everything." (translation??) So Albornoz did not shy away from expressing his opinion to the council at their last meeting on June 27 regarding some books from the Jersey City Free Public Library he found in a hamper earlier this month on Mercer Street, outside the library's Main Branch. The books, with their cover torn off and pages gutted - including titles by James Jones, William Kennedy, Joseph Heller, John Irving, R.K. Narayan, Muriel Spark, and P.D. James.

"I let them know that major works of American literature are being destroyed," Albornoz said. "The bottom line is what kind of city is this that would allow this destruction." Library Director Priscilla Gardner wished that he would have taken his opinion directly to her as oppposed to the City Counsel, but unfortunately that's not what Albornoz chose to do. Story from the Hudson Reporter.


Any library director should know that you are going to get burned doing this by nibshits. Never throw a book in your dumpster. Treat it like your hiding a body. We haul ours to a private landfill a county away. It's a pain but nothing compared to a concerned citizen.

It looks like> can't learn from the past. There was a huge scandal there in the 80s when they tossed a vast quantity of art books, first editions and the like in dumpsters.

Sheesh, I am thrilled they have a website! I did half my LIS homework using the collection of JCFPL in 1989-91, when they didn't have an online catalog. It was a good balance with NYU, CW Post, and NYPL Mid-Manhattan. I always remember finding a R.L. Stevenson first edition in the stacks (there were hardly any books newer than 1965 then).

I'm actually slightly happy that maybe they need to weed for new arrivals...though they do need to learn some skullduggery D:

Does this mean this 'patron' was rummaging around in the bins outside the Library?

I think it's a disgrace that libraries throw books in the trash when there are so many libraries with zero replacement and acquisition budgets that would take them and probably find a way to get shipping gratis.

There could be a national listserv or website listing
all available materials.

Libraries hit by Katrina, libraries with little budgets, libraries all over the world with little on their shelves heck even citizens who'd be willing to buy them....

It's a crime to dumpster books except those beyond repair.

Another issue that's an uncomfortable truth is that some librarians trash books because they don't like the contents...too rad...too mad.

Censorship by dumping.

Good for that patron for looking in the dumpster and blowing the whistle!

I can recommend a doctor for that trolliosis you have.

I agree, in an ideal world, that libraries would be able to share their weeds with other libraries that could use them. I used to work in a library that could use them, and I actively worked with other libraries to do just that.
However, I'm sick of folks acting like someone is "destroying" classic works of literature - like they're throwing out the LAST copy ever of a Conrad, or a Narayan, or whatever authors were listed. I adore books and their bookiness, but an individual copy of a single book in the dumpster is not threatening the entire existence of that work. We no longer live in a world where books are made to last forever. The information within will be preserved - this is NOT "censorship" of any kind.

I worked in a library where the "weeding" staff in the 80s weeded and dumped every book dealing with the 60s and 70s protests, politics, hippies, drugs, free thinking, free love, racial and gender all went into the dumpster because the people doing the weeding decided they hated those times and wanted to obliterate every trace of them.

I would not be surprised if somewhere books about the holocaust, birth control, and anything by Michael Moore were being dumpstered or not bought at all.

There are plenty of librarians who are open minded and purchase materials whether they agree with the views expressed in them or provide information on diverse topics for diverse clientele...other libraries you go into and it appears that Dick Cheney did the selection AND the weeding.

You could say that one book in a dumpster does not mean much because you assume there are many more
copies out there...but what if every library assumed
that and decided to dump all the same books at the
same time?

It happens. It shouldn't.