legal: don’t sell library property on eBay

This post could also be titled “why I had to dig 13 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary out of the dumpster instead of just getting them handed to me by the librarian who tipped me to their location” (it’s true!) In short, you can’t get rid of government property — including library books in some cases — any way you want, the method of disposal has to be approved. This is why some books wind up in the dumpster instead of the book sale. While it’s clear why this law exists, it has some weird side effects when enforced in this way. I’d like to apologize to Adam Romanik, it was a good thing you did, you shouldn’t have been treated this way.

3 thoughts on “legal: don’t sell library property on eBay

  1. As a library business manager, I’m appalled and yet unsurprised to read about this happening. Our librarians often have great ideas about how to dispose of weeded items without trashing them. Most of their ideas would generate additional funds for the library but due to various policies and restrictions, we can’t follow through on them. Our administration, fortunately, is generally apologetic about turning down our ideas. I can’t comprehend why Mr. Romanik’s school administrators chose to look past his motivation and focus solely on law; this event was cause for a hand slap, not a criminal record.

  2. This is also why so many libraries have very strict rules about gifts. If something is accepted as a gift, but not with the now common “we can do anything we want with this, thank you” clause, then it becomes state or institutional property and the library may not be able to get rid of it. Without throwing it in the dumpster, that is.

  3. It would be so nice if there wasn’t soooo much red tape in government work, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, “working for a government agency” and “thinking outside the box” rarely play well together.

    I think Mr. Romanik did a good thing, especially (if I remember correctly, having lived close by to Susquenita HS for most of my life) since that school district is always looking for funds to provide students with really basic stuff. These days, computers are basic. I’m surprised Mr. Romanik didn’t also get charged for not following proper procurement procedures when he bought the six computers for his media center.

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