By: Revanche

How to Support Your Public Library

November 20, 2009

[image credit]

On my string of errands, I ran across a fantastic bit of news about my local library. The thing that always bothered me about donating old books was that they would inevitably end up on the sale shelf where it would bring in a hefty revenue of ten, fifteen or twenty-five cents.  Two dollars if it was a paperback. It’s still income, but it felt like kind of a meager thing.

Now, not only can you still support them in the traditional ways, they’ve added the option of donating new books to the library via an Amazon Wish List!  That’s pretty awesome.

Books purchased from the wish list are mailed directly to the Library, and a book plate stating that it was a donation is placed inside.  At the point of sale, you’ve got the option of selecting a personalized book plate to dedicate your gift, or asking to be the first borrower of that book.  Once the book is processed, you’ll be notified that the book is on hold for you.  In this electronic age, I love that we’re able to use technology to help the lending library.  And remember: your purchase is a tax deductible donation

Other ways our library appreciates help

  • Volunteering: to help around the library; for the Adult Literacy Tutoring Program; with the Book Cellar program
  • The usual old book donation method.  Anything they can’t shelve for lending purposes goes into the Friends of the Library Book Cellar Sale
  • Buy books from the Book Cellar Sale 
  • Become a member of the Friends of the Public Library organization:  you pay dues, and volunteer time raising money for the library
  • Donating to the Endowment Fund by purchasing equipment, furniture, etc. that are already existing in the library, and making the item a gift in perpetuity. 
  • Purchase a book plate that will be affixed to a new hard cover book at the library with any name you like.

I love my hometown library. I spent days holed up in there during elementary school summers, and lugged a metric ton of books to and fro over the years.  I’d like to be able to give back in a substantial and long-lasting way, and donating new books that other people can enjoy is right up my alley. 

If you’ve benefited from the library’s lending, please consider supporting them in some small way within your means.  Public libraries do a lot of good, and they deserve our patronage.

7 Responses to “How to Support Your Public Library”

  1. 444 says:

    I thought you were going to suggest bringing books back late and paying fines. At $1.50 per VHS/DVD per day, (even educational ones which are initially free to borrow) and a big stack checked out for my child, imagine how much I’ve paid on the multiple occasions I’ve forgotten to return videos until a week past the due date. I’ve probably contributed enough to add a new wing to our public library.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info! Neat idea.
    The thing I dislike about this county’s system is that they do not email when your books are coming due (or any borrow status emailing) and the loan period is shorter than I’m accustomed to; I frequently am overdue. I’m annoyed with myself for being delinquent but don’t mind supporting the library even nominally.

  3. The Amazon wish list thing is pretty awesome – especially being the first person to check it out! I haven’t even been buying books lately because I read too quickly and usualy only once (then I loan it out and never see it again…).

    This has reminded me that I need to find the library near our new apartment! I got out of the habit of reading during school, and now I waste all my time on the internet!

  4. eemusings says:

    That’s a great idea! Our libraries shoudl adopt this.

    @paranoid Me too – I hardly read any books over the last three years, and most of them were light pieces of fluff that I just read for escapism. Now I spend all my free time messing around online instead.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Excellent suggestion. I got my first library card when I was six and checked out 20-30 books at a time (back when I read books no longer than 20 pages 🙂 ). I hope my local library has something similar to this.

    Now that I work at a university though, I mainly check out my books from the libraries here; talk about an awesome and massive collection!

  6. Revanche says:

    444: 😀 I would have, but a librarian once told me that late fees don’t actually go to the library itself.

    Karen: Ooh I love the due-date email our system recently implemented.

    paranoidasteroid Selfish or not, I really like that first serve option as well. I’m sure they realized that that would be a great free incentive.

    eemusings: My library reading tends to fall off, and internet usage spikes correspondingly, so I guess we’re in good company!

    Kathleen: Woman after my own heart! I did the same as a child. They couldn’t add new books fast enough.

  7. […] a total local library fan from way back. I loved the smell of books, I loved the stacks, I loved the nearly-audible hush when you walked in […]

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