Prelingers save the orphaned films and books that libraries abandon


How to explain what Rick and Megan Prelinger are up to? The California couple searches out all that stuff you probably saw and read in your childhood -- films about corn production, home movies of Detroit, propaganda manuals about good manners -- and collects it. When a library has to get rid of a roomful of old books because of budget cuts or to expand its computer center, it's the Prelingers to the rescue.

WalletPop's Jason Cochran visited their 5-year-old library in San Francisco to give you a closer look:

"Public libraries are under enormous pressure for how to use space," says co-founder Megan Prelinger. "They very often have to get rid of something old every time something new comes in." Often, they dump publications that have to do with business, industry, landscape, land use -- all things that can still be useful to us as we figure out how to plan for tomorrow.

"Libraries have to throw things away for many reasons, and it's almost never because the material isn't valuable," she says.