Donations from Patrons Support the Library in Many Ways

Before I became a librarian, I had no idea how many books patrons donated to libraries or how these books
were used.  Now that I have worked in the Mercer County Library System, most recently as a Youth Services librarian at the West Windsor branch, I am much more familiar with this process.  On an almost daily basis I see boxes and bags of books donated by patrons in the workroom.  Besides books, patrons also donate DVDs, CDs, and other materials that they hope will benefit the library.  Staff or a member of the Friends of the Library group sorts all these items.  I sort through the children’s items, adding those wanted for the collection, and requesting cataloging for those not in the Mercer County Library System in order to fill gaps in our holdings.  Librarians at all branches save children’s books to be used as prizes in the Summer Reading Program.  Books that we do not need are boxed by the Friends groups and sold at their annual book sales.  Money from Friends of the Library book sales is used to fund special programs at their respective branches throughout the year.

As you can see, patron donations form an integral part of library collections and programming.  In fact, we have much better libraries as a result of these donations.  I would like to share just a few of the ways that gifts from our patrons have benefited the Mercer County Library System.

  • Our juvenile paperback collection gets tremendous wear and tear.  Titles in series like Geronimo Stilton, The Magic Tree House, Rainbow Magic Fairies, and My Weird School, will often circulate 100 times before they literally fall apart.  Without donations we could never keep up with replacing them.
  • Popular hardcover fiction by authors like J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Judy Blume, Andrew Clements, and Dav Pilkey also wear out long before the demand for them ceases.  Again, donations allow us to replace these titles quickly and to spend our budget on other items.
  • Our picture book collection has one of the highest circulations in the library relative to its size.  Titles by authors Karma Wilson, Lucy Cousins, Eric Carle, Rosemary Wells and Mo Willems can cost $15 to $20 each or more.  Donations allow us to have duplicate copies of many of these popular items.
  • The children’s DVD collection gets tremendous use.  Again, donations allow us to replace many of these titles, and also to have duplicate copies of many of them.
  • Special programs at the branch can be very expensive.  The proceeds of the annual book sales fund many of these special programs.  Magic shows, musical programs, the library garden, craft programs, and animal shows are just a few of the types of events that we can offer because of the support of the Friends of the Library.

As a children’s librarian, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to our many generous patrons. Your support helps us to offer children many special program and a Library System with a varied and extensive collection.
- Susan Flacks, Youth Services Librarian   


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