Book dumping in Fresno County has residents fuming

FRESNO, Calif.

This story involves public libraries in Huron and Coalinga. But the head librarian says the book dump isn't what it seems.

Some residents in Coalinga are worried about the future of the library and they are upset over the fact that thousands of books have literally been thrown away. But the director tells me it's a necessary step to bring this place up to code.

Book lovers joined forces Thursday night angry over a decision by local library officials to toss out thousands of library books.

One of the activists snapped these photos of a mountainous pile of books in the library's dumpster. And some claim up to 22,000 books got thrown away.

"These books are not trash. They shouldn't be in the landfill. They could at least be given to the thrift shop. The thrift shop could sell them for a dollar, 50 cents or whatever." said Dave Schreiner.

Library director Carol Kreamer admits the books did get dumped, but won't say how many. She says they were all either outdated or so badly worn they were of no use.

"If we have a third world country and we give them an old math book from when you were six years old, is that fair? I mean they will only come to that level. They will not be up to our standards." said Kreamer.

Kreamer says thousands of books were saved and will be given away to non-profit groups or sold. But activists are fearful this is the first step towards something worse.

The libraries in Coalinga and Huron are slated to be closed for a renovation project, using a $750,000 reserve fund to pay for it.

Heidi Boweman thinks that money will evaporate and both libraries will be closed permanently. "They're using the entire reserve money that's been saved for a number of years to do construction that isn't needed. And it'll be put the library at risk of closing and jobs being lost." said Bowerman.

Carol Kreamer insists the closures are necessary and will be temporary. "We have some problems on Coalinga that need to be fixed because of the building." added Kreamer.

Concerned residents in Coalinga will have a chance to voice their opinions next year, January 18th at the library. But board members are considering a special meeting before then.

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