Extra library books find new home at AAPS

Annette Ferguson, AAPS business partnerships coordinator, helps load more than 300 books from the Ann Arbor District Library to a loading dock at Balas Jan. 25. The extra AADL books are being distributed to AAPS teachers for their classroom libraries.

By Tara Cavanaugh, AAPS News Service

A few times a year, libraries clean out their inventories and get rid of excess books. But those books aren’t just tossed into the trash. Instead, materials at the Ann Arbor District Library are finding a new home in the Ann Arbor Public Schools through a book sharing partnership.

Sherlonya Turner works at the AADL downtown branch, managing the youth and young adult departments. She says a library is like a big closet, subject to change with the trends.

When a new book receives many hold requests, librarians order more books to meet demand.

“As a result, people get the items for several months. And then at some point we’re going to saturate the demand for the item and those items start coming back home,” Turner said. “The Twilight books are a good example. Once we saturate the demand, suddenly we’ll have twenty of these books.”

After librarians run their reports and learn which books are in excess, they first give some to the Friends of the Library, a nonprofit which supports libraries through book sales. Then Turner gives a list of book titles and authors to the AAPS business partnerships office, which shares it with teachers. Teachers can decide if any of the books would be appropriate for their classroom libraries, and AADL works with the district to drop off the books.

Turner points out that the books are up to date and in good condition. “There are other reasons that we take books out of the collection,” she said. “Some things go out of date. We aren’t giving those books to the schools.”

Susan McKee, media specialist at Huron High School, was thrilled with the books she received from AADL on Wednesday. She opened a box packed with at least three dozen graphic novels.

“They are very popular, but they’re also expensive,” she said, holding up a handful. “I hate to spend money on them, because these are ten bucks apiece.”

She pointed to the media center’s graphic novel section, a small and messy shelf that was half-full with books. “We just cleaned it. It’s used constantly. We have enough books to fill this whole thing, but they’re checked out.”

McKee said the number of teens reading for pleasure has increased dramatically over the past five years.

“Even though our school enrollment has gone down the last three or four years because we’ve lost some kids to Skyline, our circulation has gone up. We’re thrilled about it.”

Reading for fun hasn’t just increased in Huron students, but is a larger trend, McKee said, thanks to popular young adult books like Harry Potter.

Back at the AADL downtown branch, Turner said the program “is all about sharing the books that we think can have another life within our community, with our partners at the schools.”

Looks like those extra books have plenty of life left in them — to be enjoyed at AAPS.

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