Friday, December 16, 2005

Let's Talk About Donations

I’m not sure exactly when or how it strikes most people. Maybe they get the suggestion from their mom, are attempting to be more like Martha Stewart, or have encountered some other soul who has decided to bestow their old, ugly, unusable books upon us.

If an individual is so determined to get rid of their books, enveloped in cobwebs from sitting in their garage for a few years, what in God’s name makes them think anyone else would want them?

For the record, we, the public library, do not want every book your grandmother ever owned upon the event of her death. We do not want back issues of National Geographic, TIME, or any other magazine dating back to 1960. We do not want encyclopedia sets that are five years old, no matter how good their condition is. In fact, we don’t even want new books or best-sellers, we have a budget for that. If you want to help us out, if you’re really that desperate to give back to your community . . . RETURN YOUR LIBRARY MATERIALS ONTIME and pay your overdue fines.

This is public warning and fair notice: if you cannot throw away your own trash, the public library will do it for you, however, at the expense of cheating the staff time it uses from actual library services.


At 2:20 PM, Blogger NonAnon said...

Thank you for saying it, Bitter Librarian. We have a free "Magazine Exchange" at our library (free magazines; bring in what you want, take what you want) that I'm always finding LL Bean and Blair's catalogs in from, say, 1987. Catalogs from 1987! Who keeps those things? And what, dear God, do their HOUSES look like? Eek.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger slslaven said...

I donate books to the library two to three times a year in order to make room on my bookshelves for new additions. The books I donate are well-cared for, usually a couple of years old and more often than not hardcover. One librarian was so impressed with the donations I made she insisted on my taking the tax deduction for donations form (whatever it is called). She said that most of the donations they receive are worthless because of the age and condition of the books. I was kind of surprised and saddened. But what saddens me more is when people make donations, which to me is a form of charity, and then want a tax break for doing it. So of course I said no thank you to the tax form thingy (I never take them which is why I don't know what they are called). Jeez, charity is supposed to be from the heart, not to get something in return.


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