how it should work: book donations @ your library

From Daniel Cornwall, via LISNews comes a good example of how a public library can be friendly and firm about accepting book donations. Here’s the example from the blog of the Seldovia Public Library.

Recently, a very large donation was left outside the library, without notice, for days in boxes too large for our volunteers to lift once they did discover them. In that time, the books became weather-damaged as well as suffering from the territorial marking practices of local dogs. Would you want to read these books or have your children read them? What a sad waste, and one that could have been prevented with a phone call.

9 thoughts on “how it should work: book donations @ your library

  1. Archivists and special collections librarians are no strangers to formal collection development policies for donations. I’m not sure why public librarians who have been faced with this issue haven’t thought about doing the same.

  2. The whole point of that article is that they do have policies and guidelines – it’s just that these ‘helpful’ people don’t actually read what they should before taking action.

  3. The worst is around the holidays when people think they are doing ‘good works’ when they dump garbage books in the book return.

  4. Ok, so I have a book I want to donate to a library system, as I think the system ought to carry it. How do I, an average library user, go about a) finding the policy on donations and b) making sure my donation doesn’t end up in the Friends of the Library book sale?

  5. Usually the donations policy is on the website (it is for the five public library systems I go to) and if it isn’t, there should be a copy at the reference desk. Or the librarians should be able to tell you.

    As for making sure it isn’t in the Friends of booksale – no dice. The collection development person does that. If they don’t have it, it is in very good condition and suitable for the collection they probably will keep it. The biggest thing in my experience is condition – it needs to be excellent. No cracked spines, rips, marginalia, funky smells or obvious problems. Most libraries don’t accept paperbacks for those reasons.

  6. Offer the funds to the library to purchase the book. They can probably buy it for less than you can.

  7. I find the language in that example to be too coy to be effective. What’s wrong with saying the books got rained on and dogs peed on the them because the library didn’t know they were there? And if you have a donation, please talk to so & so. I think as written it’s too passive-aggressive.

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