Where to throw away unnecessary books? Try a Library Bookstore – Press Enterprise
From Temecula to Pasadena, people ask me how to get rid of the pounds. It’s because I wrote about my long-awaited purge of my own shelveswhich resulted in 250 pounds filling 10 boxes on my living room floor.
“So where did you get your boxes of perfectly good books? I have thousands,” says Cynthia Tuell of Upland. “Marie Kondo doesn’t seem to mind throwing a lot of things away, but I think you have to reduce, reuse, recycle. Where did you recycle your books?
Let me come back to that. I’ll start with the option most readers suggest: your local library.
Many libraries have shelves dedicated to donated books for sale, or even a bookstore, all overseen by its Friends of the Library group. Proceeds from book sales go to the library for needs like programming, furniture, and — you’ve probably seen it coming — books.
“Books that buy books,” sums up Nancy White of Corona, who donates hers to Corona’s main library.
At the Murrieta Public Library, “I’ve donated a few hundred books over the past few years,” says Steve Hart, “but it’s been kind of a zero-sum game. When I deliver my books to them, I can’t help but browse the store shelves. When I’m done, I end up buying almost as many used books as I donated.
There’s probably a support group for that, Steve. And he can meet at the library.
“Please recommend book donations to Friends of the Corona Public Library,” says Ingrid Wicken. “I have been a volunteer there for almost 20 years. We have a very active and thriving bookstore in the library. We would appreciate book donations from your readers. Thank you!”
Sally Kilby, board member of the Friends of the South Pasadena Library, says such donations supplement any library’s limited budget and thus benefit the community.
His group’s guidelines are pretty universal: “The bookstore is not able to take torn or damaged books, or magazines, journals, newspapers, manuals, catalogs, vinyl records, VHS tapes, or tapes.” Or eight-track cartridges, man. What they want are books, DVDs and CDs.
I recently stumbled across the new Friends bookstore in Riverside.
Previously, the Friends would accept donated books, store them in the basement of the main library, and selectively place them on shelves upstairs or downstairs. seven secondary libraries.
When a new main library Opened last summer, at 3900 Mission Inn Ave., Friends was given “a freestanding space on the ground floor for a real store,” says manager Gayle Webb via email. “We have the lowest prices in town for bestsellers and books that look new on any subject and in any language.”
Volunteer Judy Baumgartner showed me around. (Which didn’t take long. It’s a small space.) Fiction, nonfiction, romance, science fiction, young adult and children’s books are represented on the shelves, as well as DVDs and CDs. Most items are $1 or $2.
They accept donations, of course – see those guidelines above – but try to bring only a bag or two, and during business hours. Don’t leave a pile of books on the sidewalk as if they were trash, and don’t overburden volunteers as if they are exploiting goodwill.
“We had four, five, six boxes given at once by one person,” Baumgartner said with a sigh. “Some people empty all their libraries and bring them here.”
In life, do not burden your friends. Or your friends from the library.
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Weekday hours had to be cut in half due to a shortage of volunteers.
Baumgartner said that while having a dedicated store is great, “we’re now looking for volunteers to run it.”
Because Friends wants two people at a time, that’s eight people needed to cover weekdays and another four on Saturdays.
Your own city’s Friends operation may also need the help of volunteers beyond your donations. If you have free time and love libraries, consider asking how you can help them.
Where else can you throw pounds?
“Goodwill and the Salvation Army are always good choices,” says Nancy White.
“As steward of the Little Free Library,” says Upland’s Julia Parra, referring to these freestanding birdhouse-like repositories found in front yards and public places, “I would suggest to anyone having extra books to donate to a Little Free Library. To find the nearest LFL to you, please search LittleFreeLibrary.org.”
The Claremont Forum Bookstore, 586 W. First St., Claremont, accepts books it sells through its bookstore and also ships them free to inmates nationwide through its Prison library project. You can donate money to his spring mail drive at www.clarremontforum.org.
Going back to Cynthia Tuell’s question, used bookstores have been my go-to choice since I was a kid. It’s because I love them. Also, after spending money on books, exchanging them for store credit makes me feel better about the initial expense.
There are far fewer used bookstores than before, but some are still around. Ask around or search the internet. And call before bringing books. Their buyer might not be there that day or they might have instructions for you. Second-hand bookstores aren’t Goodwill either.
In 2020 I took a few boxes for Delivery man in Orange. Earlier this year I took most of my groceries to Riverside’s Downtown Bookstore and Renaissance Bookstore. The three stores didn’t take everything, but since my taste is impeccable, except when it doesn’t, they took the essentials.
Since my goal was to get rid of books and not to acquire more, my store credit was not spent. But it will be there when I need it.
Alternative country singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks will perform on May 21 in the privacy of the Claremont Folk Music Center, where there is a simple stage and they have set up a few rows of folding chairs. The store is owned by musician Ben Harper and was opened in 1958 by his grandparents. Fulks “is a big deal for us to have at the store. Ben actually made the first contact with him,” says Ellen Harper, the store manager and Ben’s mother. Tickets are $25 and the show is at 7:30 p.m.
For David Allen, showtime is Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Email [email protected], call 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.