April 4, 2014

Editorial: Saving books from the landfills

Dannemora Free Library has undertaken an eco-friendly initiative that we hope other libraries will emulate.

All libraries wind up with books they no longer need. As newer volumes are added, older and outdated books are weeded out.

Most libraries try to recycle these books through fundraising sales. These events are a bonanza to local readers as books are usually available at bargain prices. Some libraries even offer a whole bag of books for one low price.

But all books don’t sell to local patrons, and then the question becomes how to get rid of the rest.

Dannemora Free Library — and possibly others in this region that we have not heard from — works with the company Better World Books to get all the unwanted books reused or recycled. It not only doesn’t cost the library any money, but it could be a small source of revenue.

More than 3,000 libraries from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have been participating in the program since it started in 2004.

The website explains how it all works: “This no-cost program is simple and straightforward. You gather and box your surplus materials, and Better World Books coordinates and pays for items to be shipped to our warehouse in Mishawaka, Indiana, for resale.

“Items are sorted and scanned, and each saleable item is listed on 53 channels. Better World Books handles all aspects of inventorying, marketing, selling and shipping these materials, and you receive a commission from each sale.”

The organization also donates a percentage of each sale to the nonprofit literacy partner of the library’s choice. Over the years, Better World Books has raised $15 million for its four main partners: National Center for Families Learning, Room to Read, Books for Africa and WorldFund.

“There are no sign-up, monthly or one-time fees,” the website explains. “You and your literacy partner will be paid a percentage of net sales. Some of our partners earn $25 a month; others earn $25,000.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
CVPH Job Opportunities