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San Diego Library Auction Not Huge Money-Maker But City Says Reduces Waste

San Diego Library Auction Not Huge Money-Maker But City Says It Reduces Waste

While high profile items like the card catalogue were bought, there isn't much demand for bookshelves and old chairs.

The city of San Diego this month auctioned off hundreds of chairs, tables and even VHS tapes leftover at the Central Library building that weren't relocated to its new location when the library moved almost three years ago.

About more than half of the roughly 600 lots remain unsold, but the city marks the event as a success because it prevented the items from landing in the trash.

While high profile items like the card catalogue were bought, there isn't much demand for bookshelves and old chairs.

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Rows of chairs on display at the former central library location in downtown San Diego, June, 9, 2016.

High profile items like the card catalogue went for $1,400, while the theater seats sold for as little as $6 to as much as $150 per row. Even the streaming service Netflix picked up a few dozen lots. The company is actually filming an upcoming production inside the library over the next few weeks and purchased some items for props.

In total, the city earned just less than $12,000 from the June 11 sale, which will go to the city's general fund. The money is not specifically earmarked for San Diego's libraries, as the city previously stated.

City of San Diego Senior Public Information Officer Paul Brencick said the dollar amount may not be huge but every item sold is one fewer that'll end up in a landfill.

"The money that was raised probably not as impressive as the volume of equipment that was sold," Brencick said during an interview at the old library location at Eighth Avenue and E Street.

The leftover items weren't too surprising, Brencick added.

"There was quite a few, mainly bookshelves that were left over. As you can imagine in today's day and age, bookshelves are not as popular as they may have been in the past. A majority are chairs and bookshelves that are pretty dated," he said.

The city will hold another auction next month with AAA Public Auction, which organized the first event and has a five-year contract with the city. The company earns a 25 percent commission of the total sales. It walked away with $3,930.87 from this month's event.

As for as the library building itself, Civic San Diego is currently reviewing proposals for how to re-purpose the building. The agency said it has received three submissions.

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Tarryn Mento
Health Reporter

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