To Donate or Not to Donate

As my personal library of books continues to grow and completely surpass the shelf my dad built for them two years ago, I’ve been giving thought to donating some of the books I’m pretty sure I’ll never read again. It’s not that I didn’t like them; it’s just that they don’t have high re-read value to me. It would free up about 15-20 books worth of spots and it’d be nice if they got the love they deserved in someone else’s hands.

My local library’s YA section is meager and so it’s the first place that came to mind when I got my pile of donations together. So at my last visit I asked if they were accepting book donations, to which the librarian replied: always. But when I asked if they’d go on the shelves, she said, “No. We’d sell them, usually for about fifty cents to a dollar depending on what age group and condition they’re in.” When I gaped at her with disappointment, she said, “Well we have to make money somehow, how else could we host library functions?” And, okay, I get that, I do. But I was still so disappointed and she could tell. She said, “Look at it this way, kids who couldn’t afford the full price of the book can now get it super cheap if you donate it.” And I practically whined, “But they could have it for free if you put them on the shelves.” She just shrugged her shoulders at me.

My books are in nearly mint condition, that’s how anal I am with them. And some of them are only a couple months past release date, so practically brand new. If I were to resell them myself I could get a very high cost for them. But I’m not after the money. I wanted to be able to put them on the shelves, encourage teens to read something new that the library currently doesn’t offer them. And this isn’t an option now.

So what do I do with these books? I can keep them, move them into a cabinet so there’s more room for the ones I know I’ll re-read, but they’ll just grow dust and feel wasted. I suppose I could still donate them to the library and let them sell them. They’ll still find good homes (hopefully), even if I really wanted to give them away to a free source for reading. I just don’t know though, I’m so torn on the idea now.

Today it occurred to me that maybe I could visit the local high school and see if they’d add them to their shelves. Has anyone ever done this or have experience with high school libraries and the content they carry? 

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2 Responses to "To Donate or Not to Donate"

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  1. edgyauthor

    September 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I’m really surprised your library doesn’t want these books for their shelves. My own library sells books, but they’re actual library copies that are only being sold because no one has checked them out in a very long time. Getting rid of them allows the library to clear shelf space for new books. So, the used nature of them makes the 50-cent price for each both expected and reasonable.

    I’ve never tried this, but I think visiting your local high school is a good idea. Hopefully they’d be more accommodating than the library you’ve already gone to!

    • SarahWhisted

      October 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      I still haven’t done anything with these books except pull them from the shelf and tuck them somewhere else. One day I’ll figure out what to do with them, I guess…

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