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with Shel Schuster

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Well, I guess the most pressing used-book-related concern is still donation issues. All I'm hearing so far…

What can I donate?

Just about anything related to books! We accept any and all bound volumes, of course. We have received all sorts: some over 100 years old, others still on the best seller lists (hopefully with dust jackets). We even got a framed painting of books (sold it on E-bay for several hundred dollars). Once a hollowed-out book contained a loaded revolver. (It's a good idea to flip through them. $20 bills may make good bookmarks, but rarely are we able to return them to the donor.)

We also accept CDs, DVDs, videos, and books on tape. Magazines are iffy. With the limited space in the Bookstore, most issues end up on the free cart or in the recycle bin.

What happens to the donations?

Lots of possibilities. The library has first rights on any donation. Several are currently downtown in LAPL's rare book collection. Newer publications are frequently used to fulfill hold backlogs or to replace damaged copies. The librarians often pluck choice reference works to augment Platt's collection.

Next, we save as many books as we can store for sale in the Bookstore. Obviously, we select the most desirable and get them out on the shelves ASAP.

When the Bookstore can't take another book and the sheds are overflowing, we repack sale-worthy books for redistribution to less well-endowed libraries and charitable organizations. Books we doubt will sell (older fiction without dust covers, for example) go on the free cart.  Finally, paperbacks without the front cover, books with loose pages or broken spines, and non-fiction that is out of date, but not yet a classic may end up in the recycle bin to make way for the next round.

When and where can I bring donations?

The bookstore just inside the front door of the library is the best place to leave books. Not only will they be processed faster, we will be happy to issue a receipt. Bookstore hours are always listed in the newsletter, on page 3 under the Calendar of Events. Usually, the store opens about an hour after the library and closes an hour before, six days a week. However, if the Bookstore is closed, the library will accept books at the circulation desk. PLEASE don't ever leave donations outside the library door. Between the weather, scavengers, and the occasional vagrant, we may never get them.

Shel Schuster, Bookstore Manager

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