The Batley Library in Wales, U.K., saw dozens, maybe hundreds of books taken from its shelves in one of the more bizarre misunderstandings seen lately. The Friends of the Batley Library were holding a book sale to help fund raise for a campaign to save their over a century old Carnegie Library. They created a poster announcing “Fill-A-Bag” Book Sale on Friday October 6 and Saturday October 7. For £1 (about $1.20) you could fill up a bag of books to keep “and that's it!!!” It turned out there was a lot more to it than meets the eye.
All went well on Friday. However, that evening, some people posted a misinterpretation on social media. The Friends had a table of books from which to make a purchase. Some posters thought that the library was permanently closing and disposing of all their books. So, they posted that for £1 a bag, you could take any books off the library shelves. The people came, filled up their bags with books that were not for sale and belonged to operator Kirklees Libraries, not the Friends. Apparently, some people ignored warnings that only the books on the sale table could be purchased.
The manager of the sale, Steve McGrath, explained what had happened on a posting on the Batley Matters Facebook page, saying, “This was a book sale by The Friends of Batley Library, not Kirklees Libraries on Friday and Saturday. Friday's sale went well but Saturday's sale was sabotaged by misinformed Facebookers. Far too many people filled their bags with actual library books from the library shelves, not from the sales tables, even though I stood on the balcony, ringing a bell and constantly telling people that it was only the books on the tables that were for sale.
“The people who decimated the Children's library, Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels and Cookery sections of books, have actively stolen Kirklees libraries stock.
“This was atrocious behaviour by some who, through social media, decided that all stock was available to take regardless of my continued announcements. Even arguing and quoting the internet posts saying fill a bag for a pound.
“This wasn't a purge of books from a closing down library, as some used it as. It was a regular Book Sale fundraiser, to provide Batley Library events for our children and customers.
“People were even seen putting Lego from our Library Lego Club in their bags to take. It was like the worst of all jumble sales.
“I am shocked, saddened, and disappointed that this happened. People were still turning up at 4:30 onwards with bags to fill on the understanding that all books including library books were for sale. The Friends of Batley Library, not Kirklees Libraries never said that this was the case but people took it upon themselves to help themselves.
This is the negative power of sharing and adding your own comments on social media. That can happen, but to still continue to steal current Kirklee's stock, once informed of the actual books involved in the sale is wrong!
I've lost my faith in humanity slightly today. I try to do as much as I can for this wider community and although, I have been ridiculed by work professionals for my passion, I still dedicate myself to providing positive experiences for the generations.”