This post could also be titled “why I had to dig 13 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary out of the dumpster instead of just getting them handed to me by the librarian who tipped me to their location” (it’s true!) In short, you can’t get rid of government property — including library books in some cases — any way you want, the method of disposal has to be approved. This is why some books wind up in the dumpster instead of the book sale. While it’s clear why this law exists, it has some weird side effects when enforced in this way. I’d like to apologize to Adam Romanik, it was a good thing you did, you shouldn’t have been treated this way.