|September 21, 2000
Volume 31 Number 3
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
LIBRARIAN AT LARGE
Thou Shalt Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Research libraries have existed since at least the Great Library of Alexandria. It may have contained hundreds of thousands of scrolls, but we'll never really know since the Romans destroyed it around 48 B.C. One might conjecture, though, that one of those scrolls might have been a gift policy.
A gift policy? You may be surprised to learn that the typical research library probably only keeps about 10 percent of the books donated to it. Most of them are inappropriate to the collection for a variety of reasons. We must divert extensive staff time to sort, search, and decide which few to keep. In other words, as wonderfully well intentioned as the givers may be, their gifts cost the library far more money than they are actually worth. Each "free" book retained may actually cost more than fifty dollars when the high percentage of rejections and staff time is factored in.
Now I sure don't mean to be an ingrate here. It would be terrible if donations ceased entirely since some of the material is perfect for the collection and may be out of print. If only there were a document to assist potential donors in deciding what to donate. Hang on, what's this dusty old papyrus scroll in the corner?
Please bring those newer hardbacks or rare books to Room 314, Monday - Friday, 9-4. Those old paperbacks, textbooks, and records are best donated directly to a Friends of the Meriam Library group for a book sale. This way the library will bear almost no expense, the Friends will make money, and the books will be incredible bargains to the buyers. Donations to the Friends may be brought to the main circulation desk. For more information about the Friends, call 898-5862. To make donations to the Chico Branch of the Butte County Library, call 891-2762.
Jim Dwyer, Library Acquisitions
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