BY SUZANNE RUPRIGHT FRIEND OF THE LIBRARY
Every day books arrive at the library in bags and boxes. Have you ever wondered what happens to a book after you donate to the library? That’s where the Friends of the O’Fallon Public Library take over. That book has a long road before it gets put on a table for a Friends’ book sale.
A book’s first stop is a large table in the back room where books pile up until volunteers are able to go through them. Some days there might be a small plastic grocery bag, but on other days there may be carloads of boxes. One day we received a record thirty boxes!
Volunteers look at each item. Before any other sorting is done, the most important question is answered. Does the library need it for the collection? If the book is new, in great condition, and needed, then it gets sent to the cataloguer who adds it to the library’s database, labels and barcodes it, then sends it to be shelved for patrons to check out.
Next, a book is evaluated for potential online sales. Our main criteria is it must list for more than $5.00. Friends started selling on Amazon five years ago when a librarian noticed a bag donated textbooks and realized some of the titles were the same as the books he had just sold on Amazon. From a few random textbooks with occasional sales using only a few volunteer hours a month, our Amazon selling has expanded to sending shipments out four to six times a week, with the listing and shipping team spending several hours on the job each week. We’ve sold everything from vintage science fiction, Harvard classics, military history, and graphic novels. Just recently we sold a 1985 World Series Program. Some books sell the same day they are listed, some take a year. If you are buying book on Amazon, please always look for us, the O’Fallon Friends.
If a book isn’t listed for sale on Amazon, it gets sorted by fiction or non-fiction and into genre or category from there. All the books are boxed and wait patiently for the next sale.
We try to always find an appropriate home for a book. Many books that we can’t sell are sent to Better World Books, a non-profit that promotes World Wide Literacy. After the May Sales, leftover books have been donated to local charities, in 2016 the charity was Savers. We can’t do anything with books that are water damaged, molding, or missing the cover or pages. Those we must throw out, as much as it pains the volunteers to do so. The volunteers are all book lovers and they do everything they can to keep a book.
The library is happy to receive your donations during business hours any day that we are open. Please don’t use the drop box in the parking lot for donations. This box is only for returning items that have been checked out of the library. Cramming items in it damages library books and the books you are donating. Thanks very much. If you need help, let us know and we can help unload your car. If you have a large collection, please call ahead and schedule a time, so we can have volunteers on hand. We take books, CDs, DVDs, audio books on CD, and LPs as donations. We do not accept Encyclopedia Britannica, or World Book sets. We no longer accept cassette, 8-track, or VHS tapes. If you need a receipt for tax purposes, we can provide one.
If you would like to meet the donated books that are waiting to find new homes, the upcoming Friends Book Sales are Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23, and Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6. Stop in and stock up for the winter. If you’d like to help sort the books and help with the sales, become a Friend of the O’Fallon Public Library.