walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Libraries turning down donated books?

Ran across this from Nate at the excellent blog, The Digital Reader.


I'm familiar (way, way, too familiar) with the move-books-across-country problem. I have done it 3 times since 2003 (and also one state-to-state move). The net effect was to reduce my maximum library size limit from 3000 volumes to 1500 volumes. When I read this:

"Oh, and two lifelong book hoarders cut 100+ titles down to four “must keeps”…I think this means the eBooks have won!"

I had to scratch my head. Apparently there are orders of magnitude to this book hoarding thing?

Regardless, the question I had involved this:

"No one wants our books. I called three libraries, and the best answer I received was that the library could take books written less than two years ago, but they capped it at two garbage bags full. The Vietnam Veterans will take books, but only at specific drop offs-they won’t pick them up from us. Finally, Goodwill and Salvation Army will accept books, but not textbooks."

Obviously, no one wants textbooks, but I'd never heard of a library putting a limit on donations, much less saying only written in the last two years, altho I should note that when I say "library", I mean "Friends of the Library" organization. I _assume_ that's what the writer intends, but given the book hoarder at 100+ titles thing, perhaps I have misunderstood.

Her author bio indicates she lives in New Jersey. Anyone else run into this phenomenon?

ETA: Some libraries only take books at certain times of year:

http://www.booksale.org/donations/donations.php (Ithaca, NY)

Amazingly, Roxbury, NJ will take textbooks:


Medford, MA has an explicit replace old editions with newer donations project, which implies they _want_ stuff older than 2 years if it's in good shape:


Cedar Mill (Oregon?) will take textbooks under 3 years old:


Altho they want you to call if they have a lot to donate, so maybe they'll change their mind on the phone.

Helen Plum library in IL says don't give us stuff in plastic bags, which I feel ought to be in more of these guidelines (I was surprised at the trash bags as a limit. I always use grocery bags or boxes so the bags stay well aligned and take less damage as a result, also they stack better).


They considerately provide phone numbers for other places to donate.

Alameda, CA says no textbooks with a lot of underlining, or multiple copies of a textbook and no magazines but, inexplicably, are one of the rare libraries still accepting VHS tapes (many libraries still accept books-on-tape). They specify no encyclopedias over 10 years old; I wonder if perhaps their guidelines haven't been revised in a while.


I think I'll stop now, with the following observation. I am fascinated by this because I have an internal timeline of how far along in the transition-to-a-new-format-for-books, and Libraries Get Picky About Books is coming up. But I'd be really surprised if we're already to that point. That said, there's variation from place to place -- some (friends of the) library, in some city, somewhere, will be the first library to say, we don't want your used books anymore because we find we can't make any money selling them at book sales any more. I'm just wondering if it has already happened.
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