Saturday, June 11, 2005

Helping Your Local Library

I'm about to say something truly shocking - so be prepared.

Books can be thrown away. They fit beautifully in most trash cans and in any dumpster.


Today's gift from the library gods was 3 boxes full of donated books. All of them Chilton auto repair manuals that looked 25 years old and appeared to have been sitting in someone's garage all that time.

I'm talking filthy, black pages. Dirty, dirty, dirty. Hazardous waste material.

You know what I did? Put them on a cart, wheeled them out to the dumpster and tossed them.

Then washed my hands a la Lady MacBeth.

I really need to get a digital camera so I can share this sort of stuff with the general Blog World. My words really do not do justice to some of the stuff that people try to donate to us. And the sad thing is - I can't turn them away. It really is admirable that they want to help the library, and it's my job to encourage that. But honestly people - use a little common sense, OK?

In other news, I got an e-mail this morning from my older sister who was bored at work. She told me that Mom said my blog has been "funny" lately.

See, my Mom thinks I'm cool!


Nicole said...

Oh funny! My library has a notice up that mentions what they won't accept as donations. Textbooks were one of them, but I don't remember the others.

Wendy said...

I don't want to post signs or turn any donations away for fear that we'll miss out on good stuff. I don't want people to think, "Well I don't want to donate this pristine bestseller from 2 years ago because the library probably won't want it."

Or, "They don't like textbooks and encyclopedias from 1965 - so they probably won't like these paperback novels."

So I cheerfully wade through the garbage in order to ferret out the "good stuff."

Sandy said...

I work at a library system headquarters, we run the online catalog, the delivery routes, take care of the computer network, do training and consulting, etc. But we don't really have a lot of books on-site and we don't serve the public. So member libraries often send us boxes of books via the delivery vans. Unusable donations: Grandma's library of obscure 1950's fiction, the mildewy box of books from the basement, marked up and outdated college texts, stuff like that. Also weeded books like twenty-year-old computer manuals.

We put them in the dumpster here to avoid patron outrage. You know, "Oh my GOD! Look at all these perfectly good books the library is throwing away!"

Nicole said...

I've donated to the library, but then I also don't care if they toss it or sell it at the Friends of the Library sale room, I just want to be rid of it. I did laugh when I found a book at the FoL and was paying for it at the front desk and the woman there said they'd just ordered a new copy of it earlier that day.

I guess unfortunately you need to assume all people are idiots in order to get anything donated.

Wendy said...

Luckily my dumpster is behind my building - so unless someone is lurking back there they don't see us pitching books.

Also, I take care to do this sort of the thing in the morning before we open :-)

Tara Marie said...

Isn't it great when mom thinks your cool and funny.

Anne said...

Maybe it's because I've become jaded, but after many years of wading through some truly frightening donations (when I worked in a very wealthy community) I got the feeling that there was very little "Oh I want to help the library" and more "Where can I dump these crap books - oh yeah the library!"

Wendy said...

I really do think most people honestly believe they're helping us. I can't tell you how many times I've had a patron say, "There are some really nice books in here" as they hand over a box of Reader's Digest Condensed Books from 1962.

Kristie (J) said...

You're lucky your family will read your blog :)
One of my sisters won't read mine 'cause it has "romance stuff" on it. Yet I have to listen ad nasuem to her horse stories and imitations. Yes, she imitates her horse to show me what it does. Blecchhh.

Nicole said...

My family doesn't know about my blog, though my husband does and occasionally reads it. I think my parents would be rather appalled at it. *g* It has...romance.

Anne said...

Wendy: I'm sure you're absolutely right. As I said I got jaded at that library (where people driving Lexus' would dispute a 20 cent video fine). :)

Wendy said...

I've long suspected that the smaller the fine the longer and harder people will bitch about it. I once had a guy who probably put 50+ miles on his car (in California traffic no less) to drive to 3 different libraries to bitch about a $2 fine.

This fantastic specimen also interrupted by lunch break.

If I remember correctly, the day only got worse after that ;-)