Parents save hundreds of books from trash at Crestwell School

A school’s abrupt plan to toss out old library books turned some Lee County parents into dumpster divers.

April Esposito never imagined she would jump into a dumpster but that’s what she did on Wednesday after her child came home from the Crestwell School.

“Our kids are saying ‘mom, they are throwing books,'” Esposito said. “They went through and they’re throwing away all these books.”

Esposito said her children were worried they would no longer have a library.

Esposito raced back to the school in south Fort Myers and found hundreds of books in the garbage.

The school said they are not getting rid of the library, but instead they are making space for a new STEM lab. Because the books are so old, they cannot be recycled and the school couldn’t find an organization to donate them to, the school said.

The school did however let the parents take the books for a proper home in the future.

“We were like, can we take them? Can we go take them?”  Esposito said.

That’s what they did.

“We had until 5 am to get as many out as we could,” Esposito said. “We came in shifts, took as many out as we could. Packed them into our cars and got them out of the trash.”

It felt terrible to trash the books but no one would take them, said Peyton Flanders,  Chief Operations Officer of Clear Direction Education at the Crestwell School.

“I turned to a colleague and I said it feels like stepping on a kitten,” Flanders said. “It feels like sacrilege. But when the leading authority in recycling tells you that the best thing to do is put those books and discard them in the dumpster, that is what we are going to do.”

The Crestwell parents were able to find homes for the books in less than 24 hours.

Anyone interested in donating books should consider Goodwill or the multiple Better World Books bins which can be found in multiple locations across the county. To find locations, click here.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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