WARNING: The following column contains graphic depictions of book mutilation. Reader discretion is advised.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the used books you donate to the library? When we’re out of storage space, and we most certainly are, used book donations are disposed of. To be more specific, if they’re paperbacks, we put them directly into the recycle bin. For hardcovers, we tear them apart, recycle the paper, and throw the covers in the trash. It used to be disheartening to rip apart these classic tomes, still rich with that ‘old book smell,’ but after you unceremoniously dispose of a few hundred, desensitization kicks in pretty quick to even the most prudent of bibliophiles.
Nobody WANTS to throw away books, least of all the place that houses so many of them, but at this point we don’t have a choice. So the natural follow-up question might be “Where can I donate my books?” There are a number of places that can take them off your hands, including other area libraries (just call before you donate them), the Better World Books bin outside the MidYork Library System on Lincoln Ave. in Utica, and other area nonprofit organizations. I would love to be more specific about which libraries and organizations, but like us, many of these groups are working with many new restrictions in place and do things differently than they did a year ago. If you want to dispose of your unwanted books yourself, simply follow the instructions written in the first paragraph, which follow the guidelines on the Madison County Solid Waste Authority’s website.
Thank you to those patrons that call ahead before making the trip here and donating their old books. I suppose a thank you is also in order to the patron who brought in their books, looked at the sign reading, “we are not accepting book donations at this time,” and dropped the box in our entryway anyway, because that action at least inspired me to write this very column.
To reiterate – we are NOT accepting used book donations at this time. This is because the Friends of the Library have temporarily suspended their ongoing book sale in our entryway due to the Coronavirus. We also understand that this new policy may be contradictory to what you may have heard from us in the past, and we apologize for any ensuing confusion.
Thank you for reading, and for not dropping off your cardboard box overstuffed with damp paperback mysteries from the early ‘90s on our doorstep.