Friday, June 21, 2013

Who would think giving away books would be so hard?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Earlier this week, I posted on Facebook that I had some large-print editions of my books to give away.  In fact, six of them.  All I asked is that they go to a library that would NOT immediately toss them to the Friends of the Library's next sale for a quarter.

The silence was deafening.

In these days of slashed library budgets, you would think that libraries would WANT to stock books.  I'm not talking used, dog-earred books.  I'm talking brand new, hardcover (well, 4 of them were), books that retail for $35 dollars EACH.  (The softcovers?  They retail for $25.)

Several people piped up that they would condescend to take them but only if they weren't older than five years old.  (They weren't. In fact, One Hot Murder is only four months old.) But then, they didn't follow through and contact me ... so I guess they didn't really want them after all.

Several of my author friends looked to see if they could find homes for the books.  One of them, asked the retirement/assisted living center where her parents live.  Nope.  They do NOT accept ANY books.  One of them, who had recently gifted her new-to-her library (she moved to a new town) with half a dozen of her large print books, which were apparently gracefully received, but found that none of them had been added to the library's catalog.  Yup, sold for a quarter each at the last sale. 

I know it costs money to catalog a book.  I know it takes time.  But I also know that visually-impaired people who cannot afford an e-reader so that they can change the font size of a book, and can't afford to buy large print books, are hungry for something--ANYTHING--to read.  This fact was driven home to me by my mother-in-law who, at age 99, has lost the capacity to read. It's the only pleasure she has left. (We've got an appointment with a surgeon to talk about cataract surgery, but it isn't until August.  That's a LONG time when you cannot read. And BTW, the assisted living center where she lives joyfully accepts large print books--and, in fact, ANY books for their library.)

Two lovely librarians did step up to the plate.  They contacted me off Facebook and the books will be mailed today.  One library is getting four of them (including all three Victoria Square books), and the other will get one Victoria Square (One Hot Murder) and one Booktown (Sentenced to Death).  And ... when I get the next large print edition, they will be the first people I contact to give copies to.

The libraries are:   The Bridgeview Public Library (in Bridgeview, IL) and the Sudlersville Memorial Library in Sudlersville, MD. 

I hope my stories will bring a smile to the visually impaired citizens of these towns and give them a few hours of entertainment.  But I can't help thinking of all the other libraries around the country that don't have many large print books and how if given the opportunity to voice an opinion, their patrons would have welcomed a new book to their shelves.

20 comments:

Debbie Carney said...

I would be glad to take then, to read first,lol, then put in the book room . I live in a over 55 development in Florida. Don't know if that helps you any.

You can PM me on FB if you want : Debbie Carnes

Louise said...

with the budget cuts you would think the libraries would be happy to receive a good free book.

Anonymous said...

Well, not to brag (too much), but three of the four titles did hit the New York Times bestsellers list. Maybe I should have put that in my pitch.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Debbie. They're all spoken for now. : (

Charline Bonham said...

I'll take any you have left. Can't have too many books and I share with my friends when finished with one. That way everyone gets a chance to read more.

Nerissa said...

What a shame.

You did a great thing by not giving up... by finally finding those books homes. Rest assured that you've made some people extremely happy and brought a little pleasure into their lives.

dollycas aka Lori said...

Wow, really sad. I know! I gifted some books to my childhood library. Asked them what titles they wanted, purchased them myself and delivered them with my daughter and then watched for them to appear on the online catalog because they had huge wishlists. After 2 months I called and was given the runaround. I finally went in and found out the hardcover books I paid almost full price for were sold at the book sale for $1 each. Never again!

Liz Straw said...

I found that when I have new books that I think the library would like I have to personally hand them to the librarian, not to one of the clerks that check in the books. Sad to say those books are just handed over to the Friends of the Library (However are Hardbacks go for 50 Cents unless it is a Children's book). So any new book I have I carry straight to the head librarian's office now or up to the children's department and give to one of their librarians.

Diana Hurwitz said...

I had trouble giving books away to libraries as well. Crazy, but true.

NatureWoman said...

Oh shoot, I just saw your post, and I would have suggested the Webster Public Library since they have a great large-print book section.

ANNETTE said...

I do not do Facebook, so did not see your notice. But, I believe the library nearest my home would have been happy to find a treasure like what you offered.

And I also am pretty sure that the city senior center would have thought they had been blessed.

Please do not become discouraged, I believe there are places out there which would welcome your generosity.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your generosity! I know so many visually impaired person and it warms my heart that you would think of giving your books to a library! Nicole

Marguerite b said...

I thought I would comment about what you described and Senior Centers. My mother in law lives in Kentucky. She LOVES to read. I send her a lot of books - the old ones I used to like I buy used. I also buy her new books I think she will like. She takes her completed books to her senior center and has started a library - she is 87 years old. One gentleman built her bookshelves and they are now FULL. She even has a sign in book so books can be tracked down. People would appreciate your books. It is fun to see my mother in law's face light up when she gets a new book. Good Luck

SueAnn said...

I missed this! Shoot! Next time around if you have this offer...let me know! Down here in my part of Ohio..the Libraies LOVE large print..and after a while they take them to the nursing homes...the ladies there adore these type stories.....I have seen books read and re-read...then passed on to the next nursing home....the last one to get them, gets to keep them.I will be watching better now....for the future! You are so sweet to offer this !
SueAnn

Linda Rima said...

Most as a librarian of a large public library, I regret that I missed your FB post for the LT giveaway of your titles. Please keep in mind that libraries receive thousands of unsolicited donations of books each, many not in any condition to be added to an existing collection. Most libraries have gift policy that clearly states that the donor accepts that the library will make the final decision as to the disposition of donated materials. Please keep in mind that libraries budgets have remained flat or reduced and that includes the staff to handle adding gift books. Libraries truly do more with less.

Linda Rima said...

My apologies for the rather abrupt ending to my previous comments. I made 3 attempts to publish my comment with limited success - this website doesn't appear to work well iPad. :( I also wanted to that I support a very small rural public library by making donations of my read cozy mysteries and helping get them cataloged and processed to add to collection. It is so small that all staff members are volunteers. Maybe next time.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, all gone. And the point of this "giveaway" was to help visually impaired readers find some entertainment. And not just one person, but many.

Anonymous said...

That's a shame. I'm so sorry this happened to you, and sadly you are not the first.

Anonymous said...

Because Iv'e been burned before, I MUST HEAR from the librarians themselves before I will send in a book. Kind-hearted as you all are, I just don't trust that the books will be shelved unless I hear it directly from a librarian (from her library email address). Isn't it terrible to have to feel so skeptical?

Anonymous said...

Lorraine, I'm so sorry this was so unwelcomed! I Will be speaking with our head librarian, for future giveaways.