The Disgrace Of Library Book Sales

Where most donations end up

Where most donations end up

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but decided to check out three of the areas largest libraries one more time. All are known for having used book sales. Some are ongoing while one has weekends nine months of the year. What I found was…. The song remains the same while the malady lingers on.
If you don’t see anything that interests you, check out the dumpsters one night. Lots of donations end up there because those in charge don’t have a clue about authors other than James Patterson. Many top mystery and science fiction authors from the fifties and sixties end up in the trash. Vintage paperbacks, Gold Medal, Lion,Graphic et al are not excepted. Why? “They’re not worth anything.” I brought around fifteen paperback originals by John D.MacDonald. I was asked,”Who’s this?” They would have ended up trashed. I still have them as I await for the opening of a second hand bookstore in my area. As I’ve mentioned previously, all in the area have closed. Hardcover mystery and crime novels from the late 1800’s through the 1930’s don’t have a chance. Yes.sometimes it’s a space problem. So…box them up and save them for when openings occur on the shelves. Guess that’s too high a concept.
Books marked,” Library Discard” are tossed. The same books purchased at library sales several years ago.   One library found a solution. They set up special shelves where the books were free or sold for a dime. I don’t believe any book should be thrown out. The exceptions are if they’re moldy or missing pages. Also for the dumpster are old text books and reference books along with the Readers Digest Condensed collections.
Overall I’d like volunteers for these sales to at least have some kind of working knowledge of fiction and that includes mystery and science fiction. For now, readers are being disrespected and do not have an opportunity to discover authors unfamiliar to them.
I recommend checking out any library before donating anything. Talk to those in charge and see how they think. You’ll save yourself a waste of time by taking books you think are going up for sale but ending up in the trash. It’s a terrible situation. Talk to the Director of your local library. Let them know what is going on. If they say there’s nothing they can do….leave your donations at home. Check your area for second hand book stores. If all these paperbacks and hard covers are not circulated they’ll be lost forever. Too many people just don’t care. The tragedy is that a lot of them work at libraries.

Look behind your library

Look behind your library

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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6 Responses to The Disgrace Of Library Book Sales

  1. dfordoom says:

    That’s one of my hobby-horses as well. It breaks my heart to go to my local library. Lots of rubbish on the shelves and so many great books being discarded. And dropping them in dumpsters is just atrocious.

  2. vintage45 says:

    No matter how many times it’s pointed out to them, they keep doing it.

    • dfordoom says:

      I think the problem is not just that library stuff don’t appreciate how good these books are, most library patrons don’t realise it either. In general people these days are absurdly prejudiced against anything that isn’t new. So these books don’t get borrowed and then they get discarded. It’s a pity libraries don’t make an effort to encourage people to try older books.

  3. vintage45 says:

    I totally agree about people prejudiced against older work. One reason is the lack of second hand bookstores. No place to browse and check out the past. I’ve seen recent news reports about the return of the independent book store. Not in my area. Over twenty have gone under in the past twenty years and right now there are zero stores in a fifty mile radius. The only book store is a Barnes & Noble and they won’t order in anything over ten years old.
    One library in Maryland sent an appeal to patrons. Any book that hadn’t been taken out in two years would be thrown out. They asked patrons to at least take them out, even if they didn’t read them in order to save them. Still..there must have been a better way than tossing them in the trash.

    • dfordoom says:

      One reason is the lack of second hand bookstores. No place to browse and check out the past.

      That’s an extremely good point. I used to haunt second hand bookstores and discovered lots of great writers of the past that way.

  4. vintage45 says:

    The owners and employees were all knowledgeable and made good recommendations. I don’t know anywhere else where a friendly and relaxed atmosphere exists anymore.

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