Going Green With Your Bookshelf

April is Earth month and being conscious of the environment has become a bigger priority in people’s lives.  I can remember when it seemed a complete fad that no one would take seriously.  Thankfully, our world and issues such as global warming have become mainstream.

Libraries often face the dilemma of unwanted books, those that have become damaged beyond repair, those that are out of date and no longer factual or relevant, and sadly, those books that no one really wants to read and are taking up space for books that are more desirable to check out.

It is a subject that readers also find in their own personal bookshelves.  Books that you picked up on the bargain shelf at Barnes and Noble because they were only $2 and then hated the story, books someone may have given you, but that you have no interest in reading, or maybe you found yourself simply with books you’ve read, enjoyed but don’t want to keep anymore.  Myself, I had a stack of cookbooks that I just never used and tons of non-fiction and novels from that bargain bin, and I now understand why were in the bargain bin.   In college, I  was sometimes stuck with textbooks for gen-ed classes and had no idea what to do with them once class was over, and I couldn’t sell them back because a new edition came out every year.

Try one of these ideas if you are drowning in books! Photo from pteittinen on Flickr.

What do we do with all these lonely, sad, unloved and unwanted books?  There are many options that are friendly to the environment, the reader, and the book too!  Instead of just dumping the book in the garbage can so it can fill up a landfill and never find its true reader love, consider one of these options:

Donate.  Places such as Goodwill, AmVets, and Vietnam Veterans will take used books and magazines, and you can get a receipt for a tax write-off.  Plus, you’re supporting a worthwhile cause.  I would encourage you not to donate to your library unless you know they will end up in the book sale room, should a library have one.  Libraries are often trying to find places themselves  to rid their weeded materials.

Sell them!  Places such as used book stores take books off your hands and sometimes will pay you for them!    I always take my cash and instead of running, end up buying books.  (More books!)  One of my favorite bookshops called Half-Price Books is an independent seller, has stores around the country and buys used books, cds, games, etc.  I’ve also found several smaller local used bookstores and thrift stores that may not necessarily buy them for more than 25 cents, but the shop owner will put them on the shelves for someone else to discover.  Having a garage sale this spring or summer?  A box of books is often the first place I go and I’ve scored some steals for a dollar or less, sometimes even free because the seller just wants them gone!  Ebay and other sites like CraigsList are decent resources for selling, but I’ve only had luck with series of magazines.  Ebay and other sales sites seems to work better when you have a hot collectible that you know is worth money or a very expensive textbook that is in good condition.

Recycle.  Unfortunately, the big question of what to do with your old set of Encyclopedias may be as simple as recycling them.  I know, it pains me to write that because I love them!  Yet, unless you can find a museum or historical society of some kind that will want them for archival or preservation purposes, the material in them is not always useful to an everyday user.  When all else fails, and you don’t know what to do, don’t dump your books in the garbage to end up in a landfill.  Recycle.

Pass Them Along!  Hospitals, nursing homes, gyms, hair salons and other places with waiting rooms or reading time often love free magazine and books! Just make sure you ask before you dump a pile of Martha Stewarts on the end table.  Not everyone appreciates the act of sharing.  Sites such as Paperbook Swap, BookMooch, and BookCrossing are also fun ways to trade books with other readers and join a community of readers.  They are often free or have a small nominal fee to cover postage and shipping charges.  When buying books, check out sites such as Better World Books who then donates a book to someone else across the world!

Be Creative.  Books as arts and crafts are ever so trendy and fashionable!  There are tons of ideas online and on Pinterest for turning old or unwanted books into works of art!  I thought this blog post was pretty interesting and had some great ideas.

Have you found yourself stuck with a pile of books and don’t know what to do?  Have you tried any of these and found successes or failures?  Do you have any resources you’ve used other than those shown here?  I would love to hear them in the comments.

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Another Spin on Bibliodiversity

I came across this blog post about International Bibliodiversity day, which occurred last month on Sept. 21st.  I never knew there was such a day!  I also love that there is an additional meaning added to the word: independent booksellers.  With the closing of Borders, the conversation from booksellers turned to independent shops.  As our country observes protests of big business across the country, I find myself asking if independent will be embraced by book lovers more than before.  Personally, I love Barnes and Noble, but I find now that I’m living in a small town, my favorite bookstore is a good 35 minutes away.  I’ll be visiting the local independent shop more now that my in-person choice is taken away, but I would have gone there anyway.  Regardless of where you buy books or the pros and cons of big booksellers vs. independent, I think what I love most is the new conversations created from what seems to be such a simple topic.    So, enjoy this new take on one of my favorite words.   Next year, I plan on celebrating diversity in books not only in their topic, but in the diverse world created by a simple existence of the written word.

Bibliodiversity: Diversity in Books? Books that are Diverse?

I recently discovered a really great podcast called Books on the Nightstand which is a weekly 30 minute discussion on books, hot topics and reader comments.  I love the diversity of the books they discuss and there is always a new idea that has me thinking.  I’ve been catching up on old episodes, and a topic came up called “Bibliodiversity.”  Now this wasn’t an original idea of BOTN, originally a concept from an academic journal.  Yet, I just loved the word and all the possibility behind the meaning.  It really had me thinking and asking questions!

Just what is Bibliodiversity?  Could it be a fancy way to say, “multicultural” literature?  Perhaps. Could it mean the diversity in reading materials such as print and ebooks?  Sure.  Yet, that word diversity, in relation to the huge bibliophile universe could mean any multitude of ideas.  Of course, the English major in me wanted to break down the actual word, taking in the prefix “biblio” and suffix “diversity” and Google them to see what overwhelming internet results would show.  Too much.  Dictionary.com defines the word “biblio” as that ‘used in the formation of compound words with the meaning “book”.’   They define the word “diversity” as ‘ 1. the state or fact of being diverse;  difference; unlikeness.  2. variety; multiformity. 3. a point of difference.’  Now, the possibilities are really endless with this absolutely magical word! I still have no idea how to narrow this concept down!

I suppose I like to think of the word Bibliodiversity as my own concoction of reading tastes in being an eclectic and different mix of genres in books.  Someone else could say it was their own formation of a diverse group of books in unique formats.  Or perhaps taking into account the simplicity of there being just a matter of point of difference, it could mean someone’s collection of French cookbooks but from different regions.

Of course, then I could take those meanings and make it about authors or book covers or even bookmarks! I could literally write a whole book, pun intended.

I love this word. I may need to visit it again.

Connecting Users With Information

Connecting users with information can take many forms from, assisting in a reference question to helping with a homework question, to serving as a reader’s adviser in helping a patron discover their next favorite book.  While face-to-face contact is best, outside of this, the best resources I not only utilize as a library patron, but also frequently find are helpful ways to connect users to information, is through the use of pathfinders and reading maps. These tools are resources that offer a wealth of information on a specific topic, often engaging patrons to seek out ideas and interests.

Below are three examples of pathfinders I’ve created to help connect patrons with information surrounding a specific book, author and topic.

Gardening Tips and Resources Online Pathfinder

Behind the Book: Online Reading Map of the Suspense Novel 13-1/2 by Nevada Barr

Jane Eyre and the Bronte Sisters Online Pathfinder