There Are Tax Benefits to Donating Books to Your Library

Sometimes the quietest moment can speak volumes. So it is when you step into a bookstore or library, but have you ever wondered what happens to the used books in your community or the fate of old books at your local public library?

Many avid readers trade their read volumes at used bookstores. These mostly small owner operated stores have a brisk trade in paperback books. Thrifty readers who trade in their books may recycle them over and over until the spines of the well read volumes no longer hold together and must permanently be disposed of.

What about the fate of old library books, those too worn or out of date? Where does some of the money come from to replace retired library reference books in your community? Clark County, Nevada has found a win win solution for many of its retired books and a tax deductible solution for its library patrons to recycle their books.

The answer comes in the form of the Friends of the Library used bookstores located inside several neighborhood library branches. The Friends of Southern Nevada Libraries is a volunteer organization whose purpose is to promote the services and programs of the Las Vegas Clark County Library District.

Bookstore volunteers are members of Friends of Southern Nevada Libraries who offer to give a few hours each month to working in their neighborhood library. They have christened their bookstores within neighborhood libraries with names such as “Second Edition” at the Clark County Library, “Once Over Lightly” at the Spring Valley Library, “Secondhand Prose” at the West Charleston Library, “Seconds To Go” at the Enterprise Library and “Words to Go Buy” at the Summerlin Library. The library used bookstores are open during regular library hours.

It started out small, just a few books lining the shelves. Nearly ten years later, the Summerlin Library’s Words to Go Buy Bookstore has grown to overflowing, often becoming the busiest place in the library on Saturday mornings.

Book donations come in year round, especially during tax time. Library patrons bring their gently read magazines, paperback and hardbound books by the handful and by the boxful. After being sorted and placed on the store shelves by a volunteer, the books are priced by category.

Hard bound and large paperback books cost $1.00, small paperbacks and children’s books sell for $0.25 and it is recommended you, “Watch for special discounts” Where will you find a better deal than this?

Dan is the very picture of the avuncular retired professor. The eighty-plus-year old’s gracious; soft spoken manner, the wispy gray hair, dark slacks and the roomy casual sweatshirt like sweater. He has been a Saturday morning volunteer fixture, working in the Summerlin Library Bookstore since it opened nearly twenty-years-ago.

Dan relates, “The money we collect from sales, helps with the purchase of new books for the library, especially the Children’s Center and I always remind people their book donation is tax deductible and give them a receipt.”

Clark County’s Library Mission Statement: “We enable the people of our community to pursue lifelong learning through our responsive collections, electronic resources and innovative services. Our inviting public libraries are the cornerstones of our diverse communities where children and adults can experience personal enrichment and connect with one another.”

For accomplishing this mission, the Clark County, Nevada Library District second hand bookstores are a good example of offering a wide variety of books for resale. Using the monies generated from book sales to buy new library books for the check out shelves which save taxpayers and promote a tax deduction when patrons bring their books in for recycling in one of its second time around book stores.

The next time you think about what happens to used books or the fate of old books at your local public library you might consider establishing a used bookstore and the two way tax benefits of recycling books through your local library.

Clark County, Nevada’s program is not unique. Libraries across the country are discovering the monetary benefits in opening resale book stores. The small town of Schertz, Texas opened a new community library in 2010 with the addition of a modern resale store as nice as any small book store at the mall.

They charge ten cents for used magazines and charge by the book spine in inches on hardbound books. Library resale stores are a win-win. They community benefits by the revenue made and the person donating their read books benefits with a chartable tax credit.

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Book Review For Library – An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles

Library: An Unquiet History is a short, compact volume on the history of libraries throughout the ages. At the time the book was published, author Matthew Battles worked for Houghton Library and the rare-books library at Harvard.

Library begins with an engaging introduction that will appeal to book lovers and provides an insider’s look at Harvard University’s library. Battles describes his experience with the Widener Library by quoting Thomas Wolfe, “the more he read, the less he seemed to know,” on the subject of wanting to read everything in the library.

Battles follows a timeline of library history dating back to Alexandria in A.D. 641 and walking us through the ages up to book burning by the Nazis during World War II. We are also given a background of Dewey-decimal system creator Melville Dewey and why the cataloguing process in libraries came about.

The first chapter of Library called “Reading the Library” is the best portion of the book because Battles’ language style and word choice will draw you in immediately. “Reading the Library” also shines because we can feel Battles’ love for books emanating and radiating itself from the pages. I find it hard to engage into Library thereafter because the style and tone becomes droning and very dry. I definitely recommend Library to librarians, but it may not appeal to general book lovers despite the fact. I am quite sad that the rest of Library does not follow suit after the first wonderful chapter!

Matthew Battles has also written Widener: Biography of a Library, which I think I may have found more interesting than Library: An Unquiet History, since it revolves around the legacy that is Harvard.

Learn Fixer-Upper Skills – Part 2 – Learn From The Past And Build A Repair Book Library

In a previous article I discussed learning fix-up skills by 1) trying to do repairs as you encounter them and using your investment fixer-upper house as a “practice” house; and, 2) by taking community college classes in the construction trades.

Two more ways to learn repair skills are: 1) reflect on past experiences and on persons who were good examples, and 2) put together your own repair book reference library.

1.) Reflecting on the Past

After I got more involved in doing repair work of my investment houses, I thought back about how my father had taught me a lot by example. I recall seeing him construct screened-in porches on various houses that we had lived in. I was too young to help out much at the time, or to appreciate what he was doing. Looking back I realize that it required a strong desire to learn the basic principals, and a sense of self-confidence to build it. He had no formal training in construction, and did not have reference books like I do but he learned by observing other porches that had been built in the neighborhood and by talking to people.

I also have a friend who has made a career out of living frugally. He does virtually all of his own house repair and car repair work. If he gets stuck, he goes to the library and finds books to help him. It helps that he has a background in teaching vocational education. We have helped each other with house repair projects over the years, and he is a reliable source of practical advice when I need help.

There may be people around you who can teach you a lot about home repair. This is the kind of person who can be an invaluable resource for you. Be sure to take them out to lunch once in awhile.

2.) Put Together a House Repair Book Library

I like to scour the fix-up book areas at used book stores for good buys. I buy a book as soon as I see it if I know that it has valuable information. If you wait to purchase the book you may return later and find that the book I had wanted is gone. The price you pay will literally be a drop in the bucket compared to the money you will save. I have books on almost every possible repair topic, including electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, you name it. Some books offer information on a wide variety of repairs. Reader’ Digest Fix-it Yourself Manual and Better Home and Gardens Complete Guide to Home Repair, are good books to start with. From there, you may need to go to a more focused book on electricity or plumbing. The Home Depot books are generally good choices to include in your library. I have several.

When a book is not enough, you can usually get good advice on specific jobs at hardware stores, like Ace Hardware. And, you can often get good advice on difficult repairs by doing a Google search.