Book Sale

April 18, 2023

We are lucky to live in a community with multiple libraries. Not only do Scottsbluff and Gering have public libraries, Lyman, Morrill, Mitchell, and Minatare do as well. 

Within Scottsbluff, I know of two privately run libraries. If you are interested in history or genealogy, you can get a card at the West Nebraska Family Research and History Center. Our local Christian radio station, KCMI calls their library the Cross Reference Library (which may be the cleverest name ever used for a library). 

A common fact about libraries is that if you add books to the collection you have to make room for them, which involves getting rid of books. When the Gering Library removes books from the collection they go to the Friends of the Gering Library which in turn use the library community room to set up a sale. Gering holds their book sale in the spring during National Library Week. The Friends of the Scottsbluff Library holds their book sale in the fall each year, so we are only six months between community book sales.

The Friends of the Gering Library annual book sale will be held during library hours from April 19-April 29. The City of Gering recognizes Arbor Day, so the library (and the book sale) will be closed April 28. 

Many of the books for sale have been removed from the library shelves due to age and the need to make space, but a lot of them are also donated. Right now the Friends are not accepting donations for the sale. We don’t have a good place to store books in the library, and what little space we do have is packed full right now. I just checked and we have well over 200 boxes of books. This means we will have a lot of books on the sale, but our donation space is full right now. If you want to give books to the Friends for the sale, bring them to the library after May 1.

Here are a few guidelines for donated items. People like to donate books to the library book sale. It seems like the right thing to do. Just this week someone donated an old dictionary with no covers, two National Geographic Magazines from the 1990s and a 2008 calendar. We can’t sell any of this. The Friends don’t accept donations of magazines or VHS tapes. I recommend recycling the magazines and tossing the VHS tapes.

The Friends can’t sell books that are water damaged, have torn or chewed covers, or are falling apart. And we do get donations that are in this condition. The best place for a book like this is the recycle bin. If you tear the covers off a book, it can be recycled. You can put books in your blue city bin, or you can take them to the large roll-off dumpsters placed around town.

We cannot sell textbooks. The information in the $75 book you purchased in the 1990s is not going to be useful to anyone today. Please recycle it. We cannot accept encyclopedias for the same reasons. A student using an old encyclopedia to write a paper on space travel isn’t going to know that Challenger blew up in 2003 if the encyclopedia they are using was published in 2000. They won’t have any way to determine what might be dated information and what is still current. Please recycle your encyclopedias. 

Books aren’t often rare or precious. Classics are reprinted with more engaging covers and print that is easier to read. The old book you have that looks like a first edition might be the first edition of the title but released by a secondary publisher. 

When the West Nebraska Family Research and History Center finds themselves with excess books, I believe they sell them online. I suspect the Cross Reference Library also occasionally discards worn books or sells excess books from time to time as well. With over one million different books being published each year, no library can hold on to all of them, not even the Library of Congress. 

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