Book Donation FAQ
Where do I take my items for donation?
If you can easily carry your donations, you may bring them to the Library Donation Box in the lobby by the Friend’s Bookstore. If you need help unloading boxes or have a large quantity of books, drive up to the garage on the west side of the library and ring the bell. Staff will assist you between 9am and 4pm.
When should I bring my donations to the library?
Donations may be made anytime the library is open. Please avoid the first and last 30 minutes of library hours. The maintenance staff are often very busy at that time and you may have to wait for their help.
Can I get a receipt for my donations?
Yes. Ask any library staff member at the Circulation Desk for a receipt. The library staff is not qualified to determine the value of your donation, but they can confirm the number and type of items you donated. It will be up to you to assign a value for tax purposes.
Where do my donations go?
Donations for the Friends of the Library bookstore are sorted by library staff and volunteers to determine what to do with the items you donate:
- Library Collection -- If an item is in good condition and meets the Library’s selection policy, it may be added to the collection. There are a few reasons why an item may not be added. For example, the library may already own it, or the content or condition may not meet selection guidelines. Many donated books replace well worn copies.
- Friends Bookstore -- Items that the Library chooses not to add to its collection that are in saleable condition are priced by bookstore volunteers and placed on the shelves in the store. Special sales are also held throughout the year. Discarded library fiction books are placed on a shelf in the foyer and sell for $1 each (plus tax).
- Other Organizations -- When stock is plentiful, the bookstore shares its donations with many other local libraries and organizations such as Channel One, schools, nursing homes, the jail and the prison.
- Discard Pile -- Items which are in poor condition, such as wet, or mildewed, or having torn pages, may be discarded. Outdated material, such as an outdated almanac, may also be discarded.
What does the Bookstore want?
The bookstore seeks items that have some re-sale value. All bookstore profits are given to the Rochester Public Library for the purchase of books and materials. The following items have been found to have the most commercial value for the bookstore:
- Children’s Books -- Children’s books should be in good condition with no pages missing. Picture books, easy reading books, and books for older children are all desirable.
- Non-Fiction Books -- Books that have information that is still current or usable are welcome, if in good condition. Both paperback and hardback books are acceptable. How-to topics such as cookbooks, crafts, home-improvement, etc. are especially successful.
- Fiction Books -- Adult fiction in both paperback and hardback sells well, especially if the author is well known or the book has been a best-seller. Some classics, especially if included in the local school curriculum, also sell, but not as well as current fiction.
- Audio/Visual -- Films (DVD or VHS), especially if family oriented, do very well. Audio (CD or cassettes) of both music and books-on-tape do well when in good listening condition.
- Online Sales -- Non-fiction books are now sold online.
Friends want to make the bookstore an inviting retail shop with desirable merchandise. Please keep this in mind when choosing items for donation. The Friends bookstore annually donate over $50,000 to the library.
What doesn’t sell?
Items that are in poor condition are discarded immediately. This includes books with torn or missing pages, books that are very dirty, and books that have mildew or mites. Mildew and mites are contagious and could damage the entire holdings of the ilbrary and bookstore. Please discard such items.
The following items are not successful money-makers, regardless of condition and are discouraged:
- Outdated reference material -- such as encyclopedias that are more than ten years old; outdated almanacs, etc.
- Outdated non-fiction -- factual books with information that is no longer accurate, such as older travel books or medical conditions.
Ask yourself if the item you are donating has re-sale value. Remember, the purpose of the bookstore is to raise money for the library. Due to a limited amount of space in the bookstore, only those items that will sell quickly are kept. You can help make this project less labor-intensive for volunteers and library staff by choosing your donations carefully.
Please donate with the understanding that these options may occur. If this is not satisfactory, please do not donate the item.