Each year residents come with empty bags and children's wagons. They pore over myriad titles, and then fill their containers to the brim with books to take home -- or for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Monday marked the first day of the annual Free Book Giveaway at the main branch of the Contra Costa County Library for county employees and area educators to peruse the inventory. As of Thursday, the public can come to the back of the Pleasant Hill branch and grab some sought-after items for themselves -- be it adult or children's fiction or nonfiction that was deemed by library staff to be out of date, or in a somewhat tattered state.

The pages might be yellowing and would not stand up to ongoing circulation. They are the books with captivating photographs and history, but lacking current information.

The free collection is collected from the county's 26 library branches and is available to peruse from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through Aug. 30.

The annual giveaway was prompted by a county resolution in September 1998 that gave library administration discretion as to how best to dispose of surplus materials that the staff deemed to be no longer relevant, explains Deanna Lechman, acting technical services and collections development manager for the county library system.

"This is county property and we need to give it back," says Lechman, "and this is the most equitable way we can give back."


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The available books serve to clear valuable shelf space for current releases and have been selected for giveaway following exhaustive review to determine how often they have been recently circulated, the age and condition.

Adopt a Book
What: Contra Costa Library's Free Book Giveaway
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Aug. 14-30
Where: Pleasant Hill Library, rear parking lot, 75 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill
Cost: Free
Information: Call 925-646-6423 or visit www.ccclib.org