The corridor outside Mary Ramacher’s office is currently filling up with donated books and media items. Ramacher is Great River Regional Library’s Collection Development Assistant. Donations are up this year, she said. Last year, donated items valued at $82,000 were added to the GRRL collection. In addition to the carts lined up in the hallway and filling her office, she said, “There are another eight carts in the archives room.”
Items that make it to Ramacher’s office have already survived a sorting process. Volunteers first sort items based on condition. Only items in good condition are stored for Ramacher and trained volunteers to inspect. Volunteers check if they are duplicate copies of items in the collection, and also scan the Better World Books website to see if they could be sold there. They are either added to the collection or sold to benefit library services.
“We can sometimes replace worn items on the shelf with donated items in good condition,” Golden said. “Adding a donated copy can often mean we save money to spend elsewhere. We add copies of popular items, items of local or regional interest, and sometimes we receive niche items that are so expensive we’ve decided not to purchase them, such as art books. Sorting through them all is a lot of work for Mary but it is well worth it to our patrons. We're grateful for donations. They make a big difference.”