By Pamela West-Finkle & Jesslyn Cleary
Happy New Year!
The new year always brings a number of cycles—resolutions and clean-outs being two of the primary products of another trip around the sun. Everyone likes to start the new year out with a fresh perspective and, perhaps, a less cluttered space.
So, for many people, books are the first to go when doing a major clean-out—especially for those who have inherited the collections of family members. The first thought someone has when they decide to unload a book collection is often “I think I’ll donate it to the local library!”
It is an admirable thought, no doubt about it. It also makes logical sense to the average person who cannot conceive of their precious collection going to the dump or entering a landfill. When I first started this job nearly eight years ago, I was appalled to discover that part of my job was to weed, discard, and get rid of books. The idea of taking them to the dump was inconceivable!
But then, the boxes and boxes of old, musty, dusty, stained and outdated books began piling up. Text books from the early 1970s, medical books from the 1960s, hundred-year-old sets of encyclopedias, and hundreds of ripped-up grocery store paperbacks began inundating our space. Word had gotten out: The naive new librarian was taking donations.
It very soon dawned upon me that not only did we not have the space to take all of these donations, we did not have the manpower or time to be able to figure out what to do with them, let along process any of them. The sad realization that the local library is not a good place to donate your book collection became very apparent very quickly.
At the current time, our library is NOT accepting most donations; however, we will always take newly published hardcovers and excellent condition children’s books. We receive calls from people asking if we will take their books, and those are just the people who have the courtesy to call first instead of dropping them off on the porch in the dead of night.
So, what do you do with the books that you wish to get rid of? Here is a list of suggestions, with the reminder that, it is always a good practice to call ahead of time:
- If the print is large enough (not necessarily large print), local nursing homes are always looking to refresh their book supply for their clients to use.
- Correctional facilities will sometimes take paperback books, but they will not take hardcovers.
- We are very blessed to have the Hobart Book Village close by. At last count, there were nine independent book stores. You can go to www.hobartbookvillage.com to get more information. If they are accepting donations, they will sometimes come out to a location and actually pick through and move the books for you; however, they, too, become inundated with books and have to occasionally decline due to lack of space.
- If you have some books that might be worth money, try selling them on eBay, Amazon, or use a website like www.bookscouter.com or www.decluttr.com.
- Books often make wonderful source material for crafty art projects. Tons of great ideas are available online. Just Google “art projects using books” or something similar and you will find lots of options!
- For old, dusty, musty, water damaged, stained, or falling apart books, the best thing you can do is to retire them in a fitting manner.