Since then, I have donated three large sacks of books to my local Library, for which they have appeared extremely grateful. The Librarian was eager to point out, that there were never sufficient funds to keep the shelves stocked with new lending material, although there are certain criteria which they adhere to, regarding the condition of any donations.
They stipulate that any books should be in a good, or better, condition, with no tanning to the pages or page edges and preferably have content that is no more than ten years old. They will accept some books that are not quite up to lending standards, but these will appear on their ‘Books For Sale’ cart, with the cash proceeds going into the Library funds for the purchase of new lending stock.
When I dropped off further donations today, I was also informed that the Library is restricted to only having a single copy of each title on the shelves, so would I object if some of my duplicate content was transferred to other branch Libraries. I was a little surprised by this caveat, as it does not seem outside the bounds of possibility, that more than one person could be looking for the same book at any given time and, overall, the shelves did look quite depleted.
However, I suppose the staff know what works best for them, so their criteria seem reasonable to me and I am quite happy to keep splitting my book donations, between the local Library service and charities that I support.
I happen to think that a Public Library is as much of a meritable and worthwhile institution, as it was over forty years ago, when I was first introduced to it, as a child. There are some members of the community who are unable to afford the cost of purchasing books, even from any of the numerous charity shops, that exist today and it would be a shame to see them being denied this valuable resource.
“The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we’ve changed their lives forever, and for the better. This is an enormous force for good.”
Barack Obama – US President
Reference Libraries may be a questionable resource, as very often much of the information is out of date and therefore obsolete. Personally, I can remember the Reference Library being a great resource for school projects and homework topics, but that, of course was before the PC and the internet.
If the tightening of the public purse were to mean that Libraries needed to be run by volunteers to survive, believe me, I would be camping out on their doorstep to apply.