For the 7,000 books sitting in a storage unit on State Street, it's abandonment all over again....
The books were among at least 10,000 items including magazines and albums left in a shuttered city library for more than three years. Many of the items became makeshift beds or fire starters for homeless people, who broke into the library for shelter. A leaky roof damaged or destroyed many of the books in the building, at 409 North Ninth Street.
Library officials admit that they erred in leaving the materials behind when they moved to a new site in January 2001.
Outraged city officials, who said they assumed the old library was empty, shooed away the homeless and boarded up the building in August 2004. Two months later, the city got inmates from the nearby Southern Illinois Correctional Center to box up the books and take them to a public storage facility, where they were to stay until the city could work with the library board and archivists to assess what should be salvaged and what should be tossed out.
That never happened.
From the sound of the rest of this article, I doubt that there is much left to salvage. The books have been allowed to fall apart as the result of an incompetently run system that apparently places very little value on books. This is disgraceful.