Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Better World Books

Better World Books is a service we use to discard books. In the past, the Library has held a perpetual used book sale. We would bring the books to the entry area of the Library during peak times in order to draw attention to them, but for the most part these books stayed around the Library for a long time. The used book sale shelving was quite full.

Why did we have so many discarded books? There are two ways we typically end up with extra books:

1.) We receive donations that either don't fit with our mission and purpose, or that we already have in the collection. When donating books to a library, donors are made aware that not all books will be retained.

2.) Books that have been withdrawn (weeded) from the collection due to excessive or lack of use over time, irreparable damage, or simply out-living their usefulness to the Hope International University community.

Public libraries often have "Friends of the Library" organizations that receive all book donations and discarded library books on behalf of the library. This organization of volunteers then sells these books at annual book sales. In some cases the "Friends of the Library" even maintains a used book store on the library premises. The proceeds from those sales go back to the library so they can purchase new books that are needed by their patrons. Most academic libraries do not have such an organization, so the library staff must handle these books.

Our Library began using Better World Books during Summer 2006. This organization sends us boxes and packing tape and then pays the shipping costs for us to mail our discarded books to them. Then they sell these books to organizations in developing countries that are in need of English language reading materials. We get a percentage of the sales to buy more books that our students need. The Library staff doesn't have to maintain a book sale, we have more shelving space, we help others, and we get funding for new books. Everybody wins!

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