Thursday, August 11, 2011

On My Mind... Library Donations

On my mind today is donating books and CDs to the library.

Last year I went through my CDs from high school, ones I hadn't listened to since then really, and seriously weeded the collection down.  I brought all the ones I no longer cared for, as well as the ones where Matt and I both owned a copy (like every Pink Floyd album) to the library.  They were mostly added to the collection and now circulate to others who do still want them.  I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying it is that they are no longer languishing unused at my house.  And that they also didn't end up in the trash or even recycling.  They are still being useful!
See that blacked out label?  That was the address label I put on all my CDs in high school.  The piece of paper underneath it is a request for me to send it to anther library via interlibrary loan.
I suppose the whole moral of the story here is:  If you don't want a CD, DVD, book, magazine, etc anymore try donating it to a local library.  A surprising number of the new additions to our library come from donations.  Undoubtedly someone will want it or if not, be able to connect to another library that does.

Case in point: One of my student workers brought in a stack of religious magazines that his family was going to throw out.  Because he has worked for me a while he thought that maybe another library could use them instead.  I offered them to a list of libraries and in less than an hour the whole stack had a new home and another library in another state had filled a gap in their collection and will be better able to serve their users.

It is a beautiful thing.
Certainly not every single item you donate will be added to a library's collection, but it is still a great place to go with your unneeded media anyways.  Many libraries have book sales where they dispose of the unwanted bits and raise money for the library at the same time.  That is where unwanted donations at my library end up.  It is a fantastic way to find the materials a new home as well as to do some fund raising....something that library's never have enough of....funds.  We also use Better World Books, who redistribute books to areas lacking them as well as recycle outdated books all with increasing sustainability and worldwide literacy in mind.

Now, since I work at the library I can see how frequently my donated books and CDs circulate.  They go far and wide via interlibrary loan as well as being checked out locally by our students and faculty.   Most people won't have a way of knowing this, but rest assured, donating material to the library is an awesome thing to do.  Almost all of my donations to the library have seen time off the shelf.   I am sure it would be the same at the library you use as well.
This Land and Environmental Art book in the book-drop was a textbook of mine from college.
What else can I say except that I love libraries.  I love the free sharing of books and ideas.  I love the frugality and community found there.  I love everything about them.  And I love that my donations contribute to the diversity of materials available for others.

I feel compelled to add one last thing:  With all that in mind don't use the library as a dumping grounds for junky, broken, water damaged books., etc  And if you have a ton (like a flatbed trailer full...and yes that DID happen to me) make sure you give the library a heads up first to be sure they have the space and desire needed to take it all in.

The On My Mind concept come from  Rhonda on her Down to Earth blog.  Won't you join in on the fun?!


  1. I donate books to the library, buy books, and check out lots of DVDs since I don't have television. Sure, I donate money every time I am late and owe fines. One time, I owed $7 for an overdue DVD. I put my foot down on forking over money and went for working out my fine. I put boxes of newspapers in chronological order. Now, to work out my $7 fine this week, I will alphabetized a cart of donated books, look them up in the card catalog, go to the shelf and compare the present book to the donated one. They will keep the best book. Whew! I only have to work an hour, so I will not finish. I love the library.

  2. Volunteering in exchange for fine money is a great idea Linda. We have five volunteers at my library and we sure are grateful for all their help. There is always works to be done at the library and never enough hands to do it!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!