Yes, that happened. A local branch of Oregon’s Deschutes County Library system had to call in the bomb squad to ascertain the nature of a Styrofoam box left on its doorstep. As reported in Newsweek (for some reason!?):
After the authorities and bomb squad arrived, nearby buildings—including City Hall—were told to shelter in place while the Styrofoam container was examined. An X-ray of the container revealed that there were actually books inside.
Sure, we’re living in dangerous, anxiety-ridden times, when the bad actors seem to be everywhere among us, but honestly, it’s not hard to make sure this doesn’t happen! Here’s how:
Call the library or bookstore to see if they do, in fact accept book donations: not everyone wants your fervently underlined copy of The Hero’s Journey.
Do not put your books in a nasty old Styrofoam cooler: this is where you keep sandwich meat and Coors Lite; nobody ever wants to open a random cooler on the street to see what’s inside.
This one is simple: when you drop off a box of books please label it “books.” Theoretically, at least, you should be able to write this.
See step 1.