Help, please! Dos and don’ts of library donations

Every year we receive thousands of new or gently used hardcover books, DVDs and CDs, and these donations are vital to our overall success.  Of the thousands of items that are donated, a small number go into the collection.  In 2020 that amounted to 62 items for a value of $4,366 including books, DVDs and, in a couple of circumstances, magazine subscriptions.

Some of the other donations are sold at the library at greatly discounted prices.  Most go to Friends of the Library book sale, which is a hugely important fundraising event for your library.  Without your help, the Friends’ sale offerings would be much less attractive to potential buyers – and thus their proceeds smaller for your library.  So your generosity is greatly appreciated.

But sometimes we have problems with donations that are outdated or in poor condition.  These items must be thrown away or recycled, costing us time and money.  So we want to take this opportunity to review the best practices for library donations, hoping this information is helpful to you as well as to us. 

1. Please do bring in only clean, gently worn books, CDs and DVDs. 

2. Please do not bring in VHS tapes and cassettes, donate magazines older than one year or leave personal items inside of donations.

3. Nonfiction items like memoirs and how-to books in good shape should not be older than five years.  Travel and restaurant guides, tax books and anything relating to computers generally should be no more than a year old.  Textbooks normally are of no interest to our patrons.

4,  Fiction novels should be no older than 10 years.

5.  Please do not deliver donations after hours in the book return slot at the library or the drop box at City Market or by leaving them at our front entrance.  Please bring them inside.

6.  Please do not bring more than one or two boxes per person, as we do not have much space in our workroom.  If you need help getting your boxes inside the building, we are happy to help.

7.  What donated materials do the Friends like best for their sale?  Their favorites are your favorites.  Experience plus your responses to surveys over the years have shown that at the top of your wish lists are mysteries, historical novels, bestsellers, thrillers, classics, contemporary fiction, fantasy and romance.  Also popular are Christian fiction, westerns, science fiction, short stories and children’s books.

Alfred North Whitehead, an English mathematician and philosopher, once said that “No one achieves success without the help of others.”  That’s certainly true of your library.  We are grateful for the generosity of all our donors, but we ask your help in donating only materials that meet the criteria outlined above.

The Friends hope that COVID conditions will allow them to put on their book sale this August, but it is too far away to announce firm plans now.

Activities calendars available

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your family at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are two versions – youth and adults.

Special note

“We want people to always feel welcome in the library, and to experience a very friendly vibe when they visit,” said Meg Wempe, library director.  “But we remind everyone that, similar to other public indoor spaces in Colorado, we must follow the executive order that requires people aged 11 or older to wear a covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask, we are pleased to assist you outside the building through our curbside service.”

New writing challenge

On May 3we will post a new writing challenge on the library’s Facebook page.  We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating in this free all-ages activity.

Storywalk for kids

Weather permitting, every other Thursday Josie posts signs outside the library that follow the sidewalk up towards the Elementary School detailing a new free Storywalk for kids.  The April 22-May 5 featured book is “Swirl by Swirl” by Joyce Sidman. After you finish the walk, pick up materials for a craft or activity at the library. 

Knitting takeaways

Pick up free knitting takeaways at the library entrance during open hours to take for your in-home enjoyment.  We’ll have patterns craft ideas, instructions and some limited supplies available.

After-school program

In response to COVID, we have revamped our free after-school program into STEAM enrichment kits, STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, for ages five and up.  Registration is required at 970-264-2209.  Pick up your kit and then bring your completed projects back to the library to be displayed in the last week of the month.

DIY crafts takeaway for kids

Drop by during open hours to pick up free DIY crafts takeaways for youngsters age 10 and older outside the building.           

Tech Time – no appointment needed

Free in-person slots are available from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and 2-4 p.m. Thursdays.  Appointments are no longer required but we will honor any appointments that were previously made, Brad will help you resolve issues with your computer, smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices. 

ESL – no appointment needed Free in-person classes take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. (note new hours).  Appointments are no longer required but we will honor any appointments that were previously made,  

Dungeons & Dragons

Join us Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m. for Dungeons & Dragons free for teens and young adults on Google Meet.  Contact claire@pagosalibrary.org to learn how to join. If you don’t have internet access, contact us anyway – we may be able to accommodate you in the library. 
Children’s programs on Facebook

Thursdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., join us on the library’s Facebook page for free children’s programs.  Thursday storytimes are on Facebook Live, so you can interact with Josie.  Saturday’s Discovery Times with games, art ideas, science experiments, history and more are prerecorded.  

Adult education – no appointment needed

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) session takes place in person tomorrow, Friday, April 29 between noon and 3 p.m. where Mark helps with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  Appointments are no longer required but we will honor any appointments that were previously made,  On May 6 PALS moves to Thursdays from 5-8 p.m.  No PALS on May 13.


“On the House” by John Boehner is a memoir by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.  “Cosmic Queries” by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson with physicist James Trefil offers new ways to understand the complexities of life and the universe we inhabit.  “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner is a coming-of-age story of a Korean American woman.  “Effortless” by Greg McKeown provides actionable advice for handling your most essential activities while avoiding burnout. 

Large print

“The Other Emily” by Dean Koontz tells of a man’s new love who may be his long-vanished love.  “Miss Julia Happily Ever After” by Ann B. Ross is book 22 in the Miss Julia series. “No Way Out” by Fern Michaels follows a woman recovering after a coma.  “Of Women and Salt” by Gabriela Garcia is the story of a Cuban immigrant’s family.  “Strongheart” by Jim Fergus is book three in the One Thousand White Women series. 

Mysteries, suspense and thrillers

“The Devil’s Hand” by Jack Carr features Navy Seal James Reece.  “What Comes After” by Joanne Tompkins follows a community after two teenage boys die.  “When the Stars Go Dark” by Paula McLain tells of a seasoned missing persons detective dealing with a new case reminiscent of her childhood. 

Other novels

“The Son of Mr. Suleman” by Eric Jerome Dickey is a story exploring racism, sexual assault, politics, family legacies and more.  “Lover Unveiled” by J.R. Ward is the latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood paranormal romance series.  “The Good Sister” by Sally Hepworth features twin sisters, one hugely resentful of the other.  “Malice” by Heather Walter is book one in the Malice series retelling the Sleeping Beauty series.

Books on CD

“Finding Ashley” by Danielle Steel follows two sisters who reunite after a long absence.  “A Dark Queen Rises” by Ashok K. Banker is book two in the Burnt Empire fantasy world.  “Wyatt Earp” by Matt Braun is the story of this legendary gunfighter.  “Her Dark Lies” by J.T. Ellison is a mystery set on the Italian coast.  “Later” by Stephen King features a young boy with an ability to see what no one else can.  “How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue is set in a fictional African village.   

Downloadable e-books and audiobooks 

Perfect for COVID times, we have a wide variety of downloadable e-books and audio books for all ages – children, tweens, teens and adults – in cloudLibrary.  The items in cloudLibrary are purchased separately from physical items, so the books available are different – and it continues to use the consortium’s contributions as well as those that we bought.  Select AspenCat Union Catalog when setting up cloudLibrary for use.  Email or phone us at 970-264-2209 if you need our help setting up this service on your device. 


Many thanks to Medora Bass and our anonymous donors for their donations.  Please put your materials donations into the dropbox at the library – not at City Market, which is reserved for returns.

Library foundation

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library Foundation to help support the services and programs provided by your Ruby Sisson Library.  Mail checks to P.O. Box 2045, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or call Cindi Galabota at 970-264-2209. 

 Quotable Quote

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton (1862-1937), American novelist, short story writer and designer.

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