Every year, the Sanibel Public Library weeds out its existing collection of titles to make way for new books, music and DVDs.
Sanibel Public Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro said the library adds approximately 5,500 new titles each year. Library staffers began sifting through their collection last June.
"We're getting close to done. We still have some non-fiction to do and some of the mysteries to do still, but we're getting close. Most of the items go to the 'new' section, then we move them over to the shelves after a few months," Mohundro said.
Sanibel Public Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro searches for books in the library’s online catalog.
The library has a very specific method in how the books are removed. The expansive collection of over 50,000 books are checked for their timeliness, value, accuracy and volume of usage.
"First, we run an audit from our online catalog that tells us what hasn't been checked out, then, we pull all those and compare them with public library standards. Then we think 'Well, this isn't required or recommended but who is our audience here?' Every library does this. Depending on who their audience is, they make adjustments. Here, travel, the arts, history and lifestyle are big, so we're a little heavier on those," she said.
The final step, according to Mohundro, is to gut check. For example, if a book has not been checked out for awhile, but if there is a movie or series coming out soon that will be based upon it, the library will keep it.
"We have to be aware of those kinds of things, too," Mohundro said.
Books removed from the library's collection go into the library's book sale room first, then whatever is not sold goes toward the semi-annual "Dollar-a-Bag" book sale.
Beginning this year, whatever books were not sold were donated to Better World Books. The library does not believe in throwing anything away.
"The books are either re-used or recycled. For the recycled ones, the pulp is used in other products. The book has a life beyond here and that's what is so important to us," Mohundro said.
Through Better World Books, organizations like Books for Africa and Feed the Children will go through the books to see what can be used by other groups.
This year alone, the Sanibel Public Library reports that 6,002 books have been either reused or recycled. Ninety-seven percent of those books were deemed reusable. The library has also saved 95 trees and 43,527 gallons of water through partnering with Better World Books.