Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting the Donations You Need

Welcome to part two of our series on improving your library or Friends of the Library book sale! Today we will discuss how to get the community donations you need to sustain book sales.

Libraries and Friends of the Library groups work together to sell weeded materials as well as books donated by the community in order to financially support library programs. Each relationship is unique to each library; some FOL's only sell donations and some sell a combination.Whatever the situation, almost all FOL's face issues related to donations. Sorting, organizing, recycling, and storage space are necessary when dealing with donations, and can pose a huge hurdle to many small libraries and FOL groups. One way to diminish these problems is by communicating specific book needs to the community. By telling the public what sells best at sales (and thus best supports their library), you can cut volunteer hours as well as boxes of useless materials from your storage closets.

First, you must determine what types of books you do and do not want. If your library has the capacity to handle all types of books, that's great! But many have space restrictions, so limiting what comes in can help. At your next sale, pay attention to what sells best. Generally the most popular books are children’s, popular fiction (NYT Bestsellers), and genre-specific non-fiction (cookbooks, craft books, nature books). Sometimes it is easier to look at what never sells, and simply ask that donations of those types of books are taken elsewhere, like a local thrift store or recycling company. Computer books, textbooks, law books, and magazines are all materials that go out of date quickly. These are less likely to sell at your book sale, and more likely to take up precious storage space following a sale.

Once you have decided what types of books you want you must get the information out there. For all book donation needs, communication is key!  Many people in your community may not even realize that the library takes donations of books. Make sure that there is information on your library and FOL websites informing visitors that yes, donations are accepted. Here you can include your list of wanted/unwanted materials, so that people can sort out anything you have decided not to accept. Make sure to also include where donations can be dropped off, and what times. Explain the list on your blog, Tweet it, and post it on your Facebook page. Ask for donations through local radio, and direct people towards your website for more information. Create flyers or postcards to place at the circulation desk. You want the community to know that you are interested in their books, and that there are certain ones that will help the library the most!

If your library or FOL still struggles to handle incoming donations after specifying which books you do and no not want, consider working with B-Logistics. We don't require sorting, scanning, or special boxes when you send us your materials. Visit today to see if B-Logistics is a good fit for you!


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