In the turmoil of Tuesday morning’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park, not only were people forced to leave the area but many also had to leave their belongings. Tents, backpacks, food and supplies were all swept out of the park and, according to reports, placed in dumpsters. That includes almost the entire collection at the protest’s library. (TIME’s Ishaan Tharoor and Terri Pous have both stopped by.) While the city’s official eviction notice stated that recovered “property will be stored at the Department of Sanitation parking garage,” on-the-ground accounts have noted that the books were being thrown into the trash.
In one blog account of the police raid, Occupy Wall Street librarian Stephen Boyer explains how he returned to Zuccotti Park after the eviction and found that “everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone. Our collection of 5,000 books is gone.” The Twitter feed for the Occupy Wall Street library, known as The People’s Library, also confirmed that the books had been thrown out.
While there are many aspects of the police’s raid being called into question, there is a staggering amount of ire on Twitter over the fate of the library. Which, in the face of tear-gassing and mass arrests, just goes to show you how dearly our society still holds its literature.