As interior renovations continue to progress at Richmond Memorial Library, the library can once again accept donations for their monthly book sale.
What exactly happens with donated materials?
Library selectors have first dibs on all of the donated material, although very little of it winds up in the circulating collection.
“It’s just very rare that we receive a current, in-demand title that we don’t already own, or that we need additional copies of,” said Samantha Stryker, Community and Adults Services librarian. “Most of the donations are older titles, so it’s more likely that something of local, historical interest will get added to the collection, if it’s in pristine condition.”
Some donated books get used for literacy and outreach programs instead.
According to Youth Services librarian Jennifer Potter, “That’s where most of the donated children’s books wind up. Our GIFT program puts them back out in the community for free, at sites targeting lower-income families,” including schools, laundromats, Family Court, medical offices, and an annual Christmas program run by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia.
Some donated adult materials – especially Large Print books – are given to people who enroll in The Library Visits program, which delivers library services to some older adults in Genesee County.
The majority of donated books – 80 to 90 percent of them, by Library Director Bob Conrad’s count – go to the Friends of the Library for fundraising or disposal. Volunteers determine whether a book is in re-saleable condition, and if it is, they price it to move quickly, from as little as 25 cents to as much as five dollars.
“We don’t have a warehouse to store our inventory,” said Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library President Kathy Pipkin. “What we have instead is a community of readers, and a very quick turnover. Once a month, we’re the busiest bookstore in the county!”
The monthly book sale, staffed by volunteers, generates about $10,000 per year. The Friends can use it for public library advocacy, or to support library programing.
“When we serve food at a library event,” Conrad said, “it comes from the Friends. Prizes for the summer reading program, they come from the Friends. Poinsettias, coffee, and cookies at Christmas; advertising expenses, when we have them; food and lodging for an out-of-town author.
"Anything, really, that we just don't feel happy spending tax dollars on, we can ask the Friends. They have oversight and final say, and they do a lot for us.”
The library accepts donations of gently used hardcover and paperback books, but cannot do anything with books in very poor condition.
“We know it's hard to throw books away," Conrad said. "It's hard for us, too! But books that come from the attic or basement that have not been stored properly will probably have issues.”
Before bringing your books for donation, the library asks you to consider:
- Is there significant wear and tear, such as a broken binding, or loose, torn, or missing covers or pages?
- Is there mold or mildew? Books with mold or mildew often smell musty and are discolored or spotted.
- Is there water damage or staining?
- Do the books have a strong odor such as cigarette smoke?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, the library will not be able to make use of your donation.
Other types of materials that are not needed are textbooks and encyclopedias, but there is a free swap box in the lobby for magazines.
Donations are accepted anytime the library is open, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For very large donations (more than four boxes at a time) the library asks you to call ahead.
The next Friends of the Library Book Sale will take place on Thursday, June 6 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., with a preview sale for Friends of the Library members on Wednesday, June 5 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. New Friends memberships are always welcome, and you can sign up at the preview sale.
For more information about the Book Sale, the Friends of the Library, or other library programs, please visit batavialibrary.org
Richmond Memorial Library continually provides access to physical and virtual resources and services that meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its diverse community in a safe and comfortable environment. Learn more at www.batavialibrary.org
Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross St in the City of Batavia.