Charities lose out as Warwickshire library books pulped for cash

BOOKS from libraries across Warwickshire are being destroyed when they are no longer wanted.

Warwickshire County Council, which runs the library service, is regularly getting rid of large quantities of hardbacks and paperbacks – many of them children’s books, the Courier has been told.

A council employee, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted this newspaper after staff were told by senior colleagues to stop taking the books home – even though they were destined for the shredder.

The local authority, which is currently considering proposals to close 16 libraries in efforts to save £2 million by 2015, admitted that the books are being discarded, but defended the policy.

Strategic head of libraries Ayub Khan said: “When books – including children’s titles – are no longer accurate or up-to-date or have been badly damaged, Warwickshire Library and Information Servce discards them.

“Such stock is sent to a recycling business which pays us an amount for books by weight. This money goes back into the library service budget to help pay for new stock.”

He said school libraries in the county follow a similar policy and that staff are not allowed to take these books home because it would affect the amount of money received by the council.

A council spokeswoman added: “We are talking about books which are not fit to be used by anybody else. If they are not suitable for our customers, they are not suitable for giving away to charities or other organisations either.”

Sean Quilty, business development manager at County Durham-based company Nationwide Book Buyers Ltd, where the books are sent, told the Courier that around 20 per cent of all the books they receive from local authorities around the country are salvaged and passed on to other companies or charities, while the remaining 80 per cent are pulped and turned into toilet paper and cardboard products.