Books tossed into Koloa dumpster

Because Kaua’i resident Napuanani McKeague is a life-long reader, she said what took place outside the Koloa Public/School Library at Koloa Elementary School Thursday left her aghast.

McKeague, a 35-year-old employee at the school’s cafeteria, said she was stunned to see more than 60 books thrown into the dumpster outside the library.

Bernadette Paraniaque, a library technician at the South Kaua’i library, said the only books that were thrown out were those that were old and worn, and contained outdated medical or health advice that could probably do more harm than good if followed.

McKeague said the episode brought to mind the dumping of thousands of old and worn books at an O’ahu school in recent weeks.

Books, as a repository of knowledge, are meant to be cherished, no matter how tattered or outdated they get, McKeague told The Garden Island Thursday.

“I am not suggesting that they are doing anything wrong,” McKeague said. “We can find a better way to find a new home for the books.”

She said she was told some books at other libraries on Kaua’i that are managed by leaders of the state Department of Education will be tossed out for similar reasons.

McKeague said the books can still be of great help in shaping the minds of Hawai’i kids.

“We have a literacy problem, and they can be used for other purposes,” she said. If they can’t be used in this state, the books can sent to other states or other countries.

She also said that if library officials can sell or give away children’s books, they should do the same for books read by grownups.

McKeague said she understands that, while it is necessary to throw out dated medical books, the fictional books, making up the bulk of the 60 or so tossed books, could be saved for the “pleasure of pure reading” by Kaua’i residents.

She said she recovered some books that were published in 2003. One book she recovered was called “The Company,” a fictional book on the Central Intelligence Agency.

“It contains 894 pages, and if you go to Borders (Books, Music, Movies & Cafe at the Kukui Marketplace), you would be paying $60,” she said.

McKeague said she was told that she could salvage the books that were dumped.

But that wasn’t going to be happen, because the tossed-out books were covered with dirt and garbage after being thrown in the dumpster, she said.

McKeague, a Koloa resident, said she loves to read, and passed that passion onto her four children, adding, “All my kids have library cards.”

Paraniaque said tossing out some of the books was necessary, as some books contained outdated information, some had broken book spines and were damaged, and some had torn pages.

Paraniaque said McKeague and others shouldn’t fret about Koloa Public/School Library’s book stock dwindling.

“We are replacing some of the books that were tossed out,” Paraniaque said. “We added 2,000 books in the last few months (with public-library funds).”

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