Many books find way back to the stacks

Many books find way back to the stacks

Workers have so far gone through about 220 of 259 boxes recovered

URBANA — Urbana Free Library officials say that many of the books that were removed from the shelves earlier this year have been returned to the stacks.

Library patrons had expressed concern when they learned that thousands of books had been removed from the shelves and sent to Better World Books, a Georgia- and Indiana-based company that receives shipments of discarded books from libraries.

Urbana Free Library interim Adult Services Director Mary Wilkes Towner told the library board on Tuesday night that 2,074 books have already been returned to the stacks, with more on their way.

Towner said that 259 boxes of books were returned to Urbana from Better World Books, and staff members had gone through about 220 of them through Tuesday.

"We went through each box and grouped them by Dewey number," Towner said.

Each library book is assigned a specific number under the Dewey Decimal System.

"Each book was handled by two people, and we made an educated decision on each book," she said. "For example, of the 12 books we had on shade gardening, not all of them made it back to the shelves."

While library officials originally reported earlier this year that 9,343 books had been removed from the shelves as part of the so-called "weeding" process, Towner said, she believes the actual number of removed books may have been smaller than that.

"But we won't know for sure for a while until we finish going through the returns," Towner said.

Towner said she believes that more than 50 percent of the removed books will be back in circulation by the time the staff has completed their work.

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