I am writing in response to concerns expressed in the Two Cents Worth column on April 18 about book donations to the library.
As many in the community are aware, the Pacific Palisades Library Association (also known as the Friends of the Library) has, for decades, operated parking lot book sales at which donated books are sold to raise money in support of a myriad of library activities, including book and equipment purchases, maintenance, programs, and even support of other branch libraries in need.
Over the years, a devoted cadre of volunteers has sorted hundreds of thousands of books for our book sales. The popularity of those sales is testament to the extraordinary generosity of our volunteers and the good will of a community that continues to cherish books.
In 2014, the Library Association opened a small bookstore on the patio of the library. Since then, volunteers have done a “second sort” of books that are not quite as pristine as those sold at the parking lot book sale, but are typically in fine condition.
These books are sold for a dollar or two (half price for kids books!) and our little bookstore on the patio, staffed by a second team of big-hearted volunteers, has added another way for patrons to indulge their love of books while supporting the library.
The books that are not included in either the parking lot book sales or sold in the patio bookstore are largely donated to other branches, which gratefully accept them. The Library Association routinely sends volunteers—their cars filled with book donations—to branches all over Los Angeles. Sometimes these libraries put the books on their own shelves and sometimes they sell them to benefit their own associations.
Only in rare instances are books recycled, typically when they are damaged, dirty or otherwise unacceptable. Every Tuesday and Thursday, between the hours of 12:30 and 5:00 p.m., volunteers at the library accept books that we believe will find a home via either the book sale, bookstore or at one of the many other libraries we support.
We provide donors with a tax receipt and a smile, but we politely request that books be in good condition and that they not be left anywhere but with our volunteers during the posted hours.
Although we would rather not, sometimes we have to refuse a donation when we know, from our years of sorting and selling, that the books are not likely to find a home through our process.
As president of the Library Association, I invite the community to become more involved in our beloved library. Our association needs volunteers to receive book donations, help with the patio bookstore and provide other vital support.
We are particularly in need of individuals who can handle the physical demands of lifting and carrying heavy bags and boxes of books. To learn more, please visit us at friendsofpalilibrary.org.
There is a sign on the library door that reads, “All Are Welcome.” The Palisades Library Association endorses this idea whole-heartedly and extends the invitation to anyone who would be willing to volunteer for our association to help us keep our local library a welcoming, thriving pillar of our community.
President, Pacific Palisades Library Association