Should libraries declutter?
There are dozens of popular books on the market right now about paring down your belongings. There are several motivations for doing this. Margareta Magnusson, the author of “The Swedish Art of Gentle Death Cleaning” believes we should each dispose of our own excess belongings. That way our children don’t have to be burdened with the difficult process. Another popular writer, Marie Kondo, believes you should only keep what “sparks” joy. There are numerous methods to review and delete excess items like clothes, books and extra kitchen utensils from your life. You can find lists of “89 things you should dispose of right away” and what to do with all the items you no longer want.
This discussion goes on in the library world as well. Librarians have an ongoing process to inventory, and delete, books and movies from our shelves. If non-fiction books contain outdated information, they are deleted. They can be replaced with more up-to-date books. Classics are typically retained, but fiction books that haven’t been checked out in five years of more are targets for removal. The same goes for movies. This allows us to make space for newer items.
What happens to all these deleted items? Books and movies with considerable damage are discarded. Others are added to our sale shelf on a monthly basis. Our prices are reasonable, and funds help us buy new books and movies. If they don’t sell, they are boxed and donated to Concern.
At home I don’t follow the same process. As a matter of fact, I’m one of the best customers of our sale shelf. I have likened my shopping habit to visiting an animal shelter and bringing home rescue puppies. I’ve also read such books called “orphan” books. I have way too many and have been sorting, and rearranging them for two weeks. It’s a crazy habit to collect more books than you could read in 100 years. I plan to regift some of my books to the library, and to friends I hope can benefit from them.
We receive boxes of books and movies others have collected and no longer want or need. There’s no specific time of year this happens. You would think spring cleaning would increase the donation of books, but this occurs all year long.
Should you want to donate books to any library please consider a few things. We prefer clean boxes and books, without mold, mildew or bugs. Although the library is sprayed for insects on a monthly basis, we’d like to prevent an infestation. There are many who hate to throw away books, but if they are not usable, they really are worthless. There are lots of ways to repurpose them through craft projects, but even those should be in good shape. We encourage donations, but please know we cannot value them for tax purposes. We are happy to provide a form for your accountant, should you itemize. We sincerely thank everyone who cares for books and passes them along when no longer needed!
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