Something creepy is going on in our libraries. Books are disappearing and no one—at least no one who’s allowed to talk about it—can say why.

Often the books are being thrown away. Not sold. Not given away. Not even recycled. Libraries in the state of Maryland are throwing away books in good condition and leaving empty shelves behind.Kate Dolan asks why libraries are throwing books away

I noticed the emptier shelves when I was trying to help my daughter find research material for a report last week. A friend who works at the library but must remain anonymous for fear of job retaliation told me that I was not imagining things—there are fewer books in stock.

And the missing books have been dumped in the trash or recycling bins. Employees have been told that they are not allowed to take any of the discarded books.

Does this make any sense? Not to me but then, I don’t work for the government.

In any case, piles of good, nearly new books have been sighted in the trash at library branches throughout Baltimore County. One local TV station even broadcast a story on the subject (WBFF Fox 45), but book and library lovers who have been waiting for a public outcry are waiting in vain. Either no one knows, or no one cares.

There are many organizations that accept donations of books. There are organizations that will help libraries sell their surplus. Our libraries here used to routinely sell their own surplus books. But since the shelves have plenty of space, the books that are being trashed do not even appear to be surplus.

So why are they being thrown out? Are books just too much trouble to deal with? Is it easier to manage a computer database with fewer entries? Does the cleaning contractor charge by the book when it comes to dusting? Is library construction so shoddy that libraries have to discard books to lighten the shelves to keep them from falling through the floors? Is there a vast conspiracy to destroy all print books to force us to buy Kindles? Who knows?

If anyone has a theory about this, I’d love to hear it. If anyone who works for the library would like the opportunity to explain, please do.

In the meantime, I’m certainly not donating any more books to the libraries around here, that’s for sure.