The other day, a library patron called to let us know she really liked a particular book she had checked out from us (that’s good), and she wanted to know how she could go about buying the book from us (that’s…less good. And kind of strange). We make it a point to be as accommodating as can be here in library land, but selling books isn’t really our thing*; we want to give them to you freely when you need or want them, and all we ask in return is for you to bring them back when you’re done so that they’re here when others need or want them. In a way, everybody owns them. If we make buying things from our collection an option, then we’ll have to constantly replace purchased items, which takes extra time and vigilance on our side and makes for annoying gaps in item availability on your side.
I know most of you know this; the prevailing perception is still that “library” is synonymous with “book borrowin’ hole.” What you may not know is that while we give away as much as we reasonably can for free, we do sell some stuff. Here’s what’s on our menu:
-Earbuds ($2) – they’re nothing fancy, but they get the job done. If you’re just needing a means to listen to audio while using one of our computers in the library, we’ll gladly let you borrow a set of headphones for free.
-4 GB flash drives ($2.50) – for all your file saving needs. If you need to scan something and e-mail it from one of our computers but don’t have a flash drive, rather than purchasing one, you’re welcome to borrow one of ours for in-house use.
-Copies/prints ($0.10/page for black and white, $0.25/page for color, discounts starting at 50 pages) – For when digital copies just won’t do, get ink and paper involved.
-Vending machine snacks and drinks (various prices) – If you find yourself famished from heavy library use, grab some sustenance from our falling snack dispenser.
-MakerSpace items (various prices) – create items on our 3D printers ($0.10/gram), laser engraver (cost of material if purchasing our stock, free if you bring your own material), Cricut (cost of material if purchasing our stock, free if you bring your own material), or poster printer (cost of ink and paper used, typically $7 – 9 for a 24” x 36” glossy poster) at essentially cost.
-Friends of the Library book sale items – The one way you actually can purchase books (plus movies and other items) from the library is through the Friends book sale, where we make discarded library items and items donated by community members available to purchase for $0.10 per item. All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Library.
Please know that we really don’t want to charge you for anything, and when we do, it’s only to cover the costs of offering those services so that we can, you know, continue to offer those services. Attending programs and borrowing books and other items is (and always will be) free. If you like a book that we, book givers, have in our collection and feel you must have it, you may buy your own copy from one of these book sellers, or from the almighty Amazon (but help out an independent bookstore if you can).
*With the exception of the Friends of the Library book sale, which is described below (well, it’s below the statement being referenced. It’s actually above this footnote. Depending on perspective, both below and above are accurate. Whatever, just read and you’ll find it).