There was a rumor going around last month that we refuse to accept books after Memorial Day. Our actual cut-off is the Fourth of July, but I understand how you can get your calendar mixed up, dazzled by all the red, white, and blue mattress commercials on television. Everyone has recovered from that rumor now, though, except possibly the Book Fair Manager, who could not go out on the loading dock without finding another dozen banana boxes someone had dropped off just before the non-dealine.
It is now June. The Book Fair is now less than two months away. But we will still gamely try to pick up books that you want to give us. There are a few little suggestions I would like to make for everyone who wants a book pickup, especially in these last few weeks.
First, remember that we have only a handful of volunteers. We will not be able to pick up from you within 24 hours of your call unless by some chance you live next door to one of our picker uppers. And if you have seventy boxes of books to give us, it might still take a while just to work up an appetite for the job.
Second, we need a little more from you than just books. We need a legal parking place. (Don’t just say “You can park in the alley: trucks do it all the time.” Go and ask.) If you live in a high-rise, find out whether we can use the elevator ad lib, or if we need to book a time for it. (See, there was this donor who told us there’d be no problem using the freight elevator. But he didn’t check on this. We arrived the same day the building had scheduled for delivering new stoves to every unit in the building. This took a LOOOONG time. Oh, and then there was the fellow who managed to schedule us for the same day the floor in the back lobby was being replaced. The building management usually posts notices about such things: read them.)
Third, it speeds things up if you decide what you want to give us before the volunteer gets there. Our picker-uppers are people of great intellectual curiosity, but they don’t necessarily have time to stand and hear your story of where you bought this book, and how you can’t possibly let us have the books your Great-Uncle Jasper left you in the will. Save that for a blog of your own.
Fourth, it will also save time if you put the books in something: a good solid bag or box. Even a banana box beats saying “I have ‘em stacked over there. No, don’t worry; the piano’s holding them up.” We have a few people who can pack up books for you, and bring their own boxes, but June is not the best time for this kind of operation. We have more leisure in September.
Lastly, don’t snap at the volunteers if they gently remind you of these things. We do respect your gesture in giving us all those old business books, and we have no intention of insulting you when we ask for a little flexibility in days and times for pick-ups. Remember that our volunteers are constantly reminded that they represent the Library, and cannot snap back at you. You might also remember that most of them are retirees, and for all you know, go out drinking with your boss at the lounge of the Pudgy Kitty Club after dark. Your name may come up in the conversation.