When Libraries Close, What Happens to their Contents?

With library closings on the horizon, the question has come up about what happens to the contents of the library? No one seems to know although speculation abounds. Users of the South End Library, as vulnerable to closure as any branch due to its lack of exterior handicapped-accessibility and proximity to the Copley Library, may be particularly interested because, over the years, so many generous residents have donated books, DVDs, toys, Lego's and furniture to our library.

Most recently, a local resident and his wife spent thousands of dollars to repair and refurbish seven oak library tables. They were returned from the master carpenter when the library re-opened last fall, gleaming in their newly restored beauty, sturdy and ready for the intensive use by our library patrons.

At the City-Wide Friends group meeting held a week ago, a number of library advocates who had worked with and within the BPL, claimed that all the contents of closed buildings are "junked" and "trashed."

When I spoke with Jim Mead, the Library's Building Maintenance Manager, at the BPL trustees meeting yesterday, his answer to the question was that "it would probably be distributed to other libraries, if

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they can use it."

But he acknowledged that there was no central facility to store the contents of closed libraries and did not think there was a plan at the moment to deal with this particular issue.