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Friday, June 7 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
There’s no such thing as a free book: The real cost of donations to libraries.

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Libraries routinely receive offers of collections of books from generous donors. For an academic library, these offers often come from retiring faculty whose book collections are extensive. Large donations of books have both pros and cons for the library. Donations allow libraries to acquire material that they may not otherwise be able to purchase, and every donation has the potential to contain a rare and valuable gem. However, every donation also requires time spent creating spreadsheets, checking holdings, evaluating and comparing titles, and determining the monetary value of books. The hidden costs of processing a ‘free’ book can exceed the cost of purchasing a new book.
In April 2018, the Angus L. Macdonald Library at St. Francis Xavier University had over 8,000 donated books stored in the basement, waiting to be evaluated. Although the processing of donations was an ongoing activity, it was not a high priority, and with a limited number of people to do the work, we could not keep up with the amount of donations we received.
In need of a plan to address our donation backlog, I started gathering data. I examined donation policies, analyzed the workflow of our donations process, calculated the salaries expense, and gathered usage statistics. This presentation discusses the findings of my investigation. Are the donated books that we add to our collections really worth the time, effort, and money we spend processing them?

avatar for Carolyn DeLorey

Carolyn DeLorey

Collections Librarian, St. Francis Xavier University
Carolyn DeLorey is the Collections Librarian at St. Francis Xavier University. She has had various responsibilities over the past twenty years at the Angus L. Macdonald Library, including government information, copyright, and data and statistics, and is currently the head of collections... Read More →

Friday June 7, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm NDT
.B 1004