There’s no real reason to throw away a book, especially a non-fiction book. Even a book that’s 50, 75, or even those more than 100 years old can provide interesting nuggets of wisdom and offer a unique insight into a different time period. A middle school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota doesn’t think so.
Community members were shocked to learn that during the pandemic the local middle school decided to throw away seemingly hundreds of non-fiction books that covered topics like Native American history, the Constitution, and World War II.
The principal justified the dumpster full of books by arguing that it was just “weeding through the collection.”
Sunrise Park Middle School Principal Christina Pierre said, “The weeding procedure is important to help us find a new home for books 10 years or older to ensure that materials are keeping up-to-date with the needs of ever-changing curriculum, school goals and students need.”
If the books were about science, sure that might make some sense, but history books usually don’t change that much unless there is a new discovery. I even had a professor tell me once that every aspect of the Civil War has been covered. There is literally no new scholarship that can be written on the Civil War.
Sometimes libraries do remove books due to wear and tear, damage, or something else, but rarely does or should a library remove books that are just a mere 10 years old. After all, libraries, especially public-school libraries, aren’t known for their yearly multimillion-dollar budgets. In this time of COVID-19, where states and communities are cash strapped due to the lockdown measures, why would the school throw away what are otherwise good books? Can the district even replace all the ones that were removed? And, the question is, what did the school consider worthy enough to keep?
Some community members decided to salvage what books they can. Several came to load up bins of books to donate or keep.
This situation is incredibly discouraging.
This event speaks to a larger narrative happening in our society where many teachers and professors who wish to indoctrinate, rather than educate, their students.
For example, in Charlottesville, Virginia one high school teacher said, “We have to teach them true history. We can’t keep teaching a narrative that prepares them for a world that does not exist.”
What’s true history? How are we not teaching it in schools? History is simply about using evidence to reconstruct the past. It’s not rocket science, but some people want to twist history to serve their own interpretation and agenda.
That’s propaganda masquerading as history.
As a long-time collector of books, including a couple of books over 100 years old, I’ve never had the heart to throw any of them away. In fact, the only book I’ve ever thrown away is the one that my dog randomly decided looked like a good restroom location in her puppy days (she just didn’t like the Romanovs for some reason). Luckily, my books no longer resemble an outhouse to her.
In the book “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen said, “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” According to one survey, 24% of American’s haven’t read a single book in the past year. Let’s hope and pray that libraries, which are essential to producing well-educated students, continue to provide meaningful and informative books to their students. And that our students take a break from Netflix every once in a while and pick up a good book.
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