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JCPS elementary school makes room for new books

Belair Elementary School in Jefferson City had to recycle dozens of library books ahead of the new school year. (Photo courtesy of neighbor)

A Jefferson City school principal on Friday defended her school's recycling of dozens of library books.

Belair Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Milhollin said it does not make her sad to see the old books go because it means new, fresh titles will be available to the students.

"I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but often times that's exactly what we as adults and absolutely what kids do," she said. "They judge whether they want to read a book based on what it looks like."

Amy Berendzen, Jefferson City Public Schools' Director of Community Relations, said the district has a policy that surpluses of school property must be recycled. She said items marked as JCPS property cannot be given away because they are purchased with taxpayer money and thus cannot be sold onto the private market. The policy also applies to other items such as furniture.

One of the books in the recycling dumpster included a thesaurus. Milhollin said while the information inside a thesaurus may still be relevant, the way students utilize a thesaurus has changed.

"Right click on your word in Docs or Microsoft Word and 'find a synonym,'" she said. "Those are the skills we are teaching kids. They know what a thesaurus is. They know what a dictionary is, but the actually going to it and opening them and using them, not so much anymore."

Berendzen said other schools were also given the opportunity to take the surplus items before they were recycled.

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