On Monday the husband and I were running errands after being on a week long vacation in Arizona and California. I had a book to pick up from the library so on my way out the door I grabbed my library donation bag.
I’ve been purging my physical collection. We’re trying to de-clutter the house and my 5 jam packed bookshelves need to be downsized. As I’ve been updating my GoodReads shelves I’ve been setting aside physical copies of books I own in ebook format. Any books I don’t have a Kindle copy for gets added to a wish list on Amazon and shelved. This process has yielded 5 decent sized trips to the library donation bin. ARCs go to the reference desk so they don’t go into circulation by mistake. I only have a few ARC donations; mostly I donate hardcovers and paperbacks.
In all honesty, I thought that some of my donations were ending up in circulation and the rest would go to the library book sale. I was okay donating my books even if they were brand new copies being sold for $0.50 at the twice yearly sale. Every penny counts right? My trip to the library on Monday changed all of that and made me decide to share this story.
I put all of my donations into the bin and walked the sole ARC over to the reference department. It was a young adult ARC and the following conversation ensued:
Me: “I have an advanced reader copy for donation.”
Librarian: *looks at me, looks at book, eyes zoom back up to me, gasp of shock* “Are you my mystery YA donater?”
Me: “Maybe?” (Cause I don’t want to take someone else’s credit but I have been donating quite a bit lately.)
Librarian: “You ARE!”
Me: “Well I’ve been purging out my physical collection and if I have a Kindle copy, the physical copy comes to the library donation bin.”
Librarian: “I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet you! You are a much discussed topic here at the library. I always get excited because I can tell when you’ve been in. You’re like a book fairy! Our summer reading program is going to be so great this year because I’ve been able to put together like a romance basket, and a dystopian basket, and a fantasy basket with the gorgeous hardcovers you’ve donated. Most years its a writer’s basket with a journal from the dollar store. We’ve also used some of the other books as prizes for writing reviews and stuff. I am so glad that I get the chance to tell you how much your donations have meant to the Public Library and the teens! I just want you to know how much you are appreciated!”
I’m paraphrasing here but we had a good 5 minute discussion about this. At this point I am cheesing hard and blinking back tears.
I didn’t write this post to give myself a virtual pat on the back. I wrote this post because I had no idea how far the ripples of my donations went. I thought at the best I was adding to the collection and adding a few bucks to the coffers. It felt amazing to know that my donations were making the librarians at my local library so excited and that real people were benefiting!
I was toying with the idea of starting my Paperbackswap account back up but after seeing such an impact locally I’ve decided to keep giving back to the library. I am also hoping this post inspires you to help your local library in any way you can.