By Kathy Schertz
A little history:
Barbara Wright started out selling donated library books on Amazon Marketplace in August of 2003. The inventory was stored on one bookshelf in a corner of the Circulation work area. Within six months, the inventory had expanded to over 2500 items and she had earned enough to buy several check-in printers for the library.
These printers greatly increased the speed at which circulation clerks could check in materials, because they printed out hold slips for items that had been put on hold by another patron. Before the printers were purchased, circulation clerks would have to write the patron's name and the date on a hold slip and place it in the book. This was a tedious and time-consuming process.
At that time, the circulation clerks at the Main Library (located in Tanasbourne) worked heroically to stay no more than three days behind in checking in materials. That means that items were still on a patron's record two or three days after they were returned.
In addition to the efforts of the paid staff, I volunteered at least twenty hours a week checking in materials. The new check-in printers accelerated the check-in process so much that my services were no longer needed in the circulation department. I then joined Barbara in selling on Amazon.
By then, our Amazon inventory was stored on three bookcases plus two large Metro carts (rolling wire racks) and we had taken over a corner of the Circulation department. Every night before going home, we had to roll the carts as close to each other and the bookshelves as possible so that we didn't encroach too much on the Circulation department's all-too-precious space.
Today, we have over 8500 items (mostly books) in our Amazon Marketplace inventory. These items are stored on compact shelving in our office at the Hillsboro Main Library.
Our process for handling donations:
When books or other items are donated to the library, they go through the following process:
1. We determine, using specific guidelines given to us by the library, if the item is needed for the library's collection. Anything that the library might want is put aside for library staff to inspect.
2. We check the value of the item on Amazon Marketplace. If we can get more money by selling it on Amazon than we would get in an in-library sale, we list it for sale on Amazon Marketplace.
3. The rest are priced for sale in the library and either placed immediately on the permanent sale shelf or boxed up and stored for the next biannual sale.