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Book Donations to the Friends of MHL
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

See also the Library's Gifts and Donations Policy

Q: What do you do with the items I donate to you?

When you donate books, you are actually donating books to the Friends of Memorial Hall Library. Our Friends run our book sales. The money they earn at the book sales is used to help the library. However, before the books or other items are turned over to the Friends, the library looks at the books and selects those items that fill gaps in our collection, and we add those items to our collection. So when you donate books, you are helping the library, whether we add the books to the collection or the Friends sell the books.  Back to Top

Q: Why don't you add everything you are given to your collection?

Any books that we choose to add to the collection must meet our regular selection criteria as outlined in our Collection Development Manual. Sometimes the donated item doesn't meet these criteria -- it may contain dated information, it may be in poor condition, or it may not meet the information needs of our community. Sometimes we have enough copies of the donated title, or enough information on the subject. If we can't use the item, we turn it over to the Friends who try to sell the item in the book sale, or donate it to others who have use for the item (prisons, schools, doctor's offices, other libraries, other countries).  Back to Top

Q: Can I get a receipt for the items I donate?

We are not able to quote a value for the items you give us, but upon request the Circulation Desks will give you a receipt on library stationery for the number of items donated and the date of donation.  Back to Top

Q: What kinds of items do you like to receive?

Most importantly, we like to receive current titles in excellent condition. Titles in poor condition do not hold up to library processing and circulation (think of the book drops!) These are the things we love to get:

  • Current and former bestsellers in excellent condition, both fiction and nonfiction
  • Hardback classics in excellent condition
  • Fiction paperbacks in like-new condition
  • Children's titles in good condition (sell well!)
  • Really, really new unmarked textbooks (published in the last 3 years)
  • Historical material related to Andover and the Merrimack Valley
  • Unabridged audio recordings, both fiction and nonfiction
  • Business and language audiotapes
  • Feature film DVDs from the last year -- purchased, not copied, with covers in good condition
  • CDs - popular works         Back to Top

Q: What kinds of items can't you use?

  • Items in poor condition -- yellow pages, highlighted text, mildew odor
  • Textbooks more than three years old
  • Encyclopedias of any age
  • Back issues or runs of magazines
  • Condensed books
  • Dated nonfiction
  • Videocassette (VHS) movies

We can't add these items to our collection, and from experience we know that people won't buy them at the book sales. This means that if you are bringing them to us because you don't have the heart to discard them, we just discard them for you, and you've wasted all that energy lugging the stuff to the library. It's OK to discard books that have lived the good life, given you pleasure, but are no longer in demand or useful! Really.  Back to Top

Q: What do you do with books that are left over after the Friends Book Sale?

The Friends send unsold books to organizations and businesses that either donate the books to charities or attempt to sell them. When these organizations and businesses sell the books, a portion of the proceeds go to the Friends and to charities. Back to Top

Q. Where do I bring the items I want to donate?

If you come in the back (Parking Lot) entrance, go down the hall past the staircase, toward the elevator, and leave books on the collection cart. If you come in the front (Main Street) entrance, just give the items to the staff at the Circulation Desk. If you need a receipt, bring the items to the Circulation Desk or the desk in the Children's Room.   Back to Top

Last updated: March 18, 2013
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Memorial Hall Library   2 N. Main Street   Andover, MA 01810   p:978-623-8400   f:978-623-8407