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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Leavenworth Public Library not taking advantage of collection

  • To the editor:
    I am troubled by the Leavenworth Public Library choosing to reduce the number of books in its holdings. Although I have no exact figure of the number of books that have been deleted from the catalog, I have noticed that the library has cleared a section once used for nonfiction and has moved its holdings of DVDs to this newly cleared space.
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  • To the editor:
    I am troubled by the Leavenworth Public Library choosing to reduce the number of books in its holdings. Although I have no exact figure of the number of books that have been deleted from the catalog, I have noticed that the library has cleared a section once used for nonfiction and has moved its holdings of DVDs to this newly cleared space.
    Those books removed from the catalog, both fiction and nonfiction, are now for sale for only 10 cents per book, which is cheaper than books found in thrift stores, secondhand book stores, and books discarded and sold at other local libraries. I'm perplexed not only by the library reducing its catalog, but also by the ridiculous prices for which these books are sold to patrons.
    It would, perhaps, make sense to reduce the library’s holdings if these books were available elsewhere within NExpress, a catalog made up of regional libraries in northeast Kansas. That logic doesn’t seem to be the case.
    Recently, the Leavenworth Public Library discarded a copy of James Welch’s "Fools Crow," a book not available anywhere else within this network of regional libraries. "Fools Crow" is considered a contemporary classic and has been highly praised by historians for its depiction of Native American culture in Montana during the 19th century.
    Certain titles are also duplicated by the libraries that make up NExpress. Evan Connell’s "Son of the Morning Star," for example, is available through 12 libraries, but the Leavenworth Public Library is no longer one of them, despite references made within this biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer to 19th century Leavenworth.
    "American Earth," one book I purchased for 10 cents at the library, can be found secondhand through Amazon, with the cheapest price offered being $13.74, not counting the $3.99 required for shipping. 
    A used cloth copy of "Son of the Morning Star" sells for $5.95 at Amazon, not counting the cost of shipping. A secondhand cloth copy of "Fools Crows" is listed for $2.68 at Amazon. Leavenworth is losing a lot of money in this reduction of the library’s catalog.  Our tax dollars seem not to be valued by the library.
    I have also, on occasion, discovered that books have been discarded in the recycling bins outside of the library. Recycling books makes no sense when these books can be donated to the Leavenworth campus of Kansas City Kansas Community College, for example. Those students enrolled in remedial reading classes may value having books of their own. Discarded books could also be made available at local hospitals, retirement communities, and nursing homes.
    Although the library has not, to my knowledge, publicized its reasons for reducing its catalog, I think some of the money lost can be recouped and made available for the purchase of newly published books and current DVD’s. I propose Leavenworth Public Library recruit those high school students who seek to bolster their applications for college and for scholarships by performing volunteer work. These students can research which books should be sold to patrons, which books should be distributed for free within the community, and which books should be listed at Amazon.
    Page 2 of 2 - Make these students responsible for maintaining the library’s marketplace store at Amazon, that is, listing the titles and packaging and mailing out those books that sell. Make these students responsible for distributing discarded books within the community.
    These activities are ways in which the library can become a more integral part of the community and ways in which both the library and the community can benefit.
     
    James Cooper
    Leavenworth

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