Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things not to donate to the library (other than National Geographic)

At our branch we have an ongoing book sale so that we will take small donations from the public to try to raise money. It seems like "small" is a subjective term, where I believe it means a couple of items and may include a plastic grocery bag of books or box that can easily be carried by a normal person. To others, "small" means backing up to the library a medium sized moving truck that was rented for the purposes of donating your dead Aunt Trudy's entire collection of romance paperbacks from the past 40 years that could not be sold on eBay because they are falling apart, reek of Newports and cat pee, and because no one wanted them. And yes, they had the nerve to call ahead and ask if we took "small" donations.
Recently a man came to the library with a small shopping bag of items he wanted to donate to the library. He explained that the bag was filled old dvds that he had only watched once or twice and didn't care to own anymore now that he had Blu-ray. He asked if we were going to add them to the library collection.
Me: Possibly, sometimes we use good donated dvds to replace our scratched copies if needed. Occasionally someone will donate something we feel should be added to the library collection and in those cases we will put it in the catalog, but it doesn't happen very often.
The man just nodded, took his tax credit receipt, and left the bag on the desk.
The shopping bag contained about 20 dvds, containing boxed sets of seasons 1 & 2 of "Hogan's Heroes," a "Saturday Night Live" Best of Chris Farley dvd, and about five pornos -- including the very classy sounding The Erotic Witch Project. Yeah, those porn dvds can't be added to the collection, nor sold in the library book sale.

Other items the library would not like the public to donate:
1. Copies of the Bible or the Book of Mormon
2. Colored in coloring books or solved Sudoku puzzle books
3. Jewel's Pieces of You cd (I think everyone in the US was issued a copy)
4. Expired medication
5. Old textbooks (get over the fact that you paid $100 for it, nobody wants it)
6. 50 copies of your self-published memoir
7. Computer books from the 1980's (or even from 5 years ago)
8. A broken calculator you stepped on
9. Encyclopedia volumes or complete encyclopedia sets
10. (Say it with me!) National Geographic, National Geographic, National Geographic!


  1. My most-commented on blog is about how libraries do not want old National Geographics, and yet that comments section is full of people listing their collection's merit. Seriously, if EVERYONE already has National Geographic, who is going to buy your collection???

    What did you guys do with the porn?

  2. I hope that the medication was mistakenly included in a bag with other things, not just dropped off on its own?

  3. #4, I see what you did there, "expired." ::wink, wink::

    Listen up patrons, Miss Shushie wants the GOOD stuff people! Some Percocet would make her shift go by much smoother, it's either that or don't walk up to the Info Desk with your stupid ish.

  4. @Closed stacks - yes, I saw that post! I thought the comments were funny, they must have just done a search for old National Geographics and not even paid attention to the article.

    @Ryan - There are sometimes pills crushed up in DVD boxes, people will dump out their book bags into the bin and we'll find pill bottles. It's weird.

    @Bibliotecher - Percocet would be great, but I'll even settle for some of those candy-like Luden's coughdrops.

  5. Stumbled upon your blog via a Closed Stacks post. I know, sounds creeper, but wanted to say that this is very funny. I enjoyed it a lot.

  6. Note that the DVD is the 'Uncut Collectors Edition'. Now, that must count for something.

  7. I know how you feel about National Geographic. Everyone assumes that libraries would love to have those rags.

    Other things I've received as donations include:

    - Boxes of VHS tapes
    - 8-tracks (who still has these?)
    - Beta tapes (which are pretty cool)
    - Laserdiscs
    - CED movies (google that one)
    - Every copy of Health Magazine ever published

  8. the public libraries i worked at always got really weird or really moldy junk. funny how people think the library is a dumping ground for every old junk item they want to get rid of.

    and sure enough, our National Geographic collection was overflowing :)

  9. @nosferatofu - yes, libraries seem to be equivalent to dumps for some people!

  10. I'd like to donate a huge collection of Nation G....ow ow ow ow!! quit hitting me!!