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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 16, 2020

Books removed from school because they were outdated, not contaminated by the coronavirus

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  • These books were weeded from the school library's collection because they were outdated, according to the principal.

An image of books piled in a dumpster has drawn the ire and incredulity of social media users. 

"All the books have been removed from the classrooms," says a post shared more than a thousand times on Facebook. "They claim that the books cannot be cleaned. Hundreds and hundreds of books regarding American history including Native Americans like Sitting Bull and Famous Sioux Chiefs, foreign nations far and wide, the Holocaust and even Mister Rogers, found in dumpster behind Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, MN. No sign of any fiction books, just non-fiction regarding history, cultures, wars, tyranny, communism, politics, etc. they are trying to erase history." 

One commenter asked: "How long does this Chinese virus live?"

Another replied: "Just set them aside for a month should be good to go."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

On July 10, a statement from the school’s principal, Christine Pierre, was posted on the Sunrise Park Middle School Community Facebook page. The books in the photo were outdated library books, Pierre wrote, not books contaminated by the coronavirus.

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"Sunrise’s media specialist was recently weeding through the collection," the statement says. "Before removing the outdated books, the proper book disposal protocol was followed by checking in with a partner organization ‘Better World Books’ to donate as many of the materials as possible, giving books to teachers in the district for classroom purposes and distributing them to Little Free Libraries placed throughout the White Bear area."

Additionally, the statement says, the media specialist tried to donate the books elsewhere but they were refused because the donation "either didn’t meet a specified criteria because of outdated content, required a fee or (the places the school contacted) weren’t accepting donations with COVID-19 restrictions."

"The weeding procedure is important to help us find a new home for books 10 years and older to ensure that materials are keeping up-to-date with the needs of ever-changing curriculum, school goals and student needs," it says. 

Weeding library collections is a common practice. The American Library Association calls it "essential."

A Fox News affiliate reported that some residents salvaged some of the discarded books. But the claim in the Facebook post that all books had been removed from this middle school’s classrooms because of the coronavirus is wrong. 

We rate this post False.

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Books removed from school because they were outdated, not contaminated by the coronavirus

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