Holding on to textbooks

Published 11:36 pm Friday, October 10, 2008

One would like to think that all of those Suffolk Public Schools students who have held onto last year’s textbooks did so for the value those books have as reference material.

Good textbooks from academically or personally significant courses are common souvenirs from college, for instance, and they can provide excellent remediation on important subjects.

Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style comes to mind. Though it’s technically not a textbook, that thin volume should be required reading for reporters and other writers at least every five years. The review would be similar to continuing education classes required for licensed members of many professions. It is a book you could expect to find somewhere in any newsroom in America, the Gray’s Anatomy of wordsmithing.

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Perhaps the nearly $86,000 worth of Suffolk textbooks that haven’t been returned since last year are in similar situations, sitting on desks within arms’ reach, ready to provide guidance at a moment’s notice on arcane matters of algebra, world history or physical sciences.

It would still qualify as an imposition on taxpayers, but at least Suffolk citizens would know the missing books are being put to good use.

More likely, though, is that there are chemistry books propping up sagging entertainment centers in homes across the city and social studies texts sliding around in the trunks of unsuspecting parents’ cars.

In fact, take a look back there sometime today. You could save the city—and yourself—a pretty penny if you found and returned one or two of those missing books.