Wednesday, January 22, 2014
How to donate books to your library
You have some old books from the 1970s festering in some corner of your house. You thought you'd like to give them where they might be wanted and/or you figure you better do something with them quick before they liquify. You have heard your local library might take these books, but assume the whole donation thing would be far too complicated to manage without some sort of guide.
This is that guide!
Just follow these four simple rules:
1. Libraries vary. Call your library and see if they want your books. We libraries still have phone numbers and are elated when you call us. And most of us take book donations. At my library you can just bring them in any time we're open. We will at minimum pretend to be delighted to receive you and your old books.
2. Simply pack up your books in manageably sized bags and boxes that you don't need back. Over-stacking them in bags that are falling apart will give us a unique opportunity to suffer together. Alternatively, you can put your books in bags and boxes and tell the person who you're giving them to that you need these bags and boxes back. This latter method is good if you are sort of an awful person.
3. Don't get all precious about your books. Just toss them in the box. Though we're happy to have them, none of them are terribly valuable. Except, wait, is this The Big Sleep? Holy mother of god, it's the first edition! I can't believe I am touching this! Thank you very, very much! I will never forget you! What you have done today here, well, my god, I am speechless!
4. Finally, always, always, make demands on us in inverse proportion to the quality and value of your donation. Donating a bunch of brand new books and movies we have long waiting lists for, maybe some beautiful art books to boot? Then you should insist that you need nothing, that we're the ones doing you a favor by putting them to good use. Donating mildewed and forgotten bestsellers of the 80s and 90s that appear to be infested with beetles? Insist that people come out to your car to carry them in. Demand a neat and thorough receipt. And be sure to complain later to the branch manager that we didn't seem thankful enough.
We were thankful. We were merely afraid of losing control of our emotions.
Still confused? Call me at the library. You'd be surprised how long and at what level of detail I am willing to answer your questions. Especially if you're thinking of bringing us The Big Sleep. Wow.