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From Berkeley to Berkley: Libraries Trade Misprints



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    Matt Church/Berkley Public Library, Michigan
    Berkeley, California librarians sent misprinted buttons to the library in Berkley, Michigan.

    The public library in Berkeley, California, a city known for its obsession with recycling, composting and all things green, has found a way to reuse its misprinted buttons: by shipping them 2,385 miles away to a library in Michigan.

    The California city's name was misspelled on the buttons, which read "I have a library card, Berkley Public Library," dropping an "e" from "Berkeley." The Berkeley Public Library received the shipment of misprinted buttons 10 years ago, and put them in storage after discovering the error.

    But even a decade ago, Berkeley was committed to making sure nothing goes to waste. So instead of throwing the buttons away, off they went to Berkley Public Library in Michigan, where they could be put to better use.

    And that was the end of that, until recently, when an employee from the Berkeley, California, library found 125 more of the misprinted buttons in storage and contacted the Berkley, Michigan, library once again.

    Matt Church, library director for the Berkley Public Library in Michigan, explained: “We had just run out of the buttons from that 10-year-old supply a few months ago, and we were trying to decide if we should get more. We give them to kids when they get their first library card."

    And then, as luck would have it, "Berkeley called and said, ‘Hey, we found more!’”

    Speaking by phone on Monday, Church said libraries are all about sharing ideas and materials with each other, even when there are thousands of miles between them.

    “This reach across the country is so thoughtful," Church said, "and we’d be happy to return the favor if we ever find any extra E’s in our materials.”