'Better World Books' Donations Reach Milestone

Olson Library recently passed the 10,000 milestone in donations to "Better World Books," a business dedicated to funding nonprofit literacy programs and providing an environment-friendly recycling option.


SaraJane Tompkins (AIS) said that the library is constantly weeding out unusable books. "The process is another tool to improve the library collection and increase the value of resources available for students and faculty. It's not fast, but it is always ongoing.”


As many as 26 boxes are sent to BWB every month. Since last year, the total donation has topped 10,800 books. Once BWB receives the books, it sells them. Olson Library gets 20 percent of the profits. An additional 15 percent is donated to its chosen charity: the National Center for Family Literacy, which has received $1,325 from the library in the past year.


“We chose the National Center for Family Literacy because money comes to Michigan. We try to use our donation to better Michigan,” Tompkins said.


Date and usage are the primary factors determining if a book is still usable, Tompkins said. The library is running out of room so the staff shuffles books around constantly to fit more books in, she said.


The librarians work with the department faculty to create specific criteria to weed books out of particular subject areas. After the librarians have removed the books from the shelves, the student employees do the lions’ share of the work to remove the unusable books from the library catalog and pack them up.


“It feels real good to be involved in something like this,” Tompkins said. "These books are being saved from the dumpster and given a new life.


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Updated: February 1, 2007

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