When Lisa sent 9NEWS a photo of what looked like a bunch of perfectly good school books piled in a recycling dumpster outside of a middle school, we, too, were curious about why.

Heck, even the spokeswoman for Jeffco Public Schools, Diana Wilson, was curious.

Lisa spotted them Tuesday in a recycle bin outside Westwoods Elementary School in Arvada.

“I think I’d feel the same way everybody else felt… like oh geeze books in the recycle bin…really?” Wilson said.

But after chatting with school librarians, and doing some research into those books and district policy in general, Wilson cleared it up for us.

“We’re a public school system with not a lot of money, so we use our books as much as we can,” she said. “If we’re getting rid of books, there’s probably a good reason. If it isn’t something good enough for us, do we really want someone using it to educate other children?”

Wilson explained the district’s policy for weeding out books from libraries. Librarians look at two qualities: whether the information in the book is dated, and if the book is physically in good condition.

If the book checks out, the school will first offer it to other schools.

If schools aren’t interested, the district will offer books to parents and students. Many schools have a book rack where students can take used library books home for good. Any leftover books would be donated to the public.

If a book has outdated information, or it is ruined beyond repair, the district can recycle the books. The district used to use a third party vendor to recycle old books, or refurbish them, but the school says that's a tough arrangement to make these days -- either because there isn't enough demand, or it's not profitable enough for those business owners. 

Some of the approximately 60 books in the dumpster were more than 20 years old, according to the district.