What do you do with donated books that your library cannot use? Often I get books that I already have in our library. We don't have enough room to add another copy or to store them to use as a replacement if needed.

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Check with Bev League (see the Tennessee CLM Conference info in the right-hand column for contact info) to see if she knows of other church libraries in your area which might be glad to have some of the donations. 

Ask the donors if you can give to other libraries or "what do you want us to do with the items we cannot use?" -- My standard response when someone brings items in or asks if we take donations!

When things are given to the library they are yours to do whatever you want to do with them unless the donor asks for them back if you cannot use them.  However, we usually tell them that if they are duplicates of what we already have, we pass them along to other church libraries.  If they do not meet the requirements of our collection policy we give them to the public library for their friends of the library book sales.  Sometimes there may be those that just need to be trashed because of physical condition or content.  If they ask about donating before they bring to the library, we give them a copy of our collection policy and ask them to use it as a guide on what to bring.  Encyclopedias seem to be a favorite to donate--we tell them to carry them to an elementary school and ask that they be given to children without access to computers which is what we do if they actually bring them to the library. 

Eva- can you send me or post your collection policy.  We do not have one.  It's there in our heads, but not on paper.    I intercepted one book the other day because the author sounded vaguely familiar, and when I googled it, turned out to be a book from a cult leader.    We have a lot of classic Christian authors which I am loathe to get rid of, and do replace them if I get a donation that looks better or is an updated copy.   I got so overwhelmed with donations (some dumping) that I put a notice in the bulletin to cease and desist until further notice.   Anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.  

You might donate them to the following prison ministry that places Christian books in prisons:

Christian Library International

3800 A Hillcrest Dr.

Raleigh, NC  27610

Here is their website: Christian Library Int'l Link

Always place in the collection policy that books/items donated become the property of the library and if they do not fit the selection criteria the library has the right to pass them along to another library, place them for sale to raise money for needed items, or even throw away (sometimes they will be the only viable course for donations).  Use a gift form and have the donor sign agreeing to those specifications of acceptance.

Places to donate donations might also include your local public library - if they do an annual book sale. This might also allow a relationship to develop that might be beneficial in the future.

One of the things I do with donated books to the library if I already have a copy or they do not meet the criteria for a church library and are in good shape - I trade them on paperbackswap.com - I have found several books with them.  Its a good source to find older books in a series that get lost from the library. 


In the case of duplicate books, then take to the bi-annual conference of church librarians and place on the sharing table if in good condition and unmarked.  In the case of such books as the Reader's Digest condensed, or Christian fiction they are excellent for retirement homes libraries, and for the charity organizations.  The prison ministry is also eager to receive any such books and if you have a  library representative at the association office-- they may know of a beginning library that can use them.  On rare occasions you may get such books as sermons by some great preacher, or other such collectible and you already own that book.  Check and see if it's a first edition.  If it is, then I would email the pastor and offer it to him for his private library collection, calling the edition to his attention.  Still offer it to him no matter which edition, telling him the title and edition and if he says he does not want it, then save it in your CASE.



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