FAQAOA | Page 47 | Newberry


I’d like to deal with some Frequently Asked Questions Asked Over Again. Actually I would LIKE never to answer these again, but they do keep coming up. That’s why they’re Frequently Asked Questions. You, gentle blogreader, already know these answers, but pass them along, wouldja? If you’re tired of reading them, think how tired I am of answering them. These are Donation FAQ.

Do You Take Old Records? We certainly do, carrot cake. That’s why we say so on the Newberry’s webpage.

You Don’t Take Old Magazines, Do You? Ah, I see. We’re dealing with someone who doesn’t read the webpage. Nothing to be ashamed of, prunepit. No doubt it took your ancestors a while to figure out the dial telephone. We take SOME. We take art and history and literary magazines for sure and we don’t take weekly news or celebrity magazines for sure. National Geographic and The New Yorker are out, while Model Railroader, Hobbies, and Granta are in. Please, if you are in any doubt, send it along. In the past year I’ve dealt successfully with chess magazines, professional magicians’ magazines, and ham radio magazines. What do you think, anyhow: I’m going to throw ‘em in your face?

Do You Take Old Road Maps? They’re Out of Date. Old roadmaps frequently are, beet brownie. The fact is, the Newberry Library has one of the finest collections of roadmaps in this great country of ours, and we’d love to fill in the gaps. Anything the Newberry doesn’t need gets sold at the Book fair to roadmap collectors.

What if I Wrote On Them? Just send ‘em in, willya? We never throw anything in the garbage while the donor’s watching.

Should I Call Before I Bring In My Donation? That, now, is a matter of judgment. If you think you’ve got a whole lot and you’d like to give me a heads up; I would call that very polite of you. If you have an outrageous amount (for our purposes, outrageous is more than 15 boxes or more than 20 bags), it might be nice to give me a day’s notice. If you are planning to back up with a semi, give me a month’s notice. This will allow me to make sure I can take my vacation time that week, and maybe get that Swiss bank account and the little condo in the South Pacific ready.

Can I Get a Receipt? Yes. We are a fully accredited 501(c)3 institution, and what you give us is deductible in the manner and to the extent allowed by law. (I learned that phrase twenty years ago and I never get tired of showing it off.) Just remember that I can’t make any estimate as to how much you can deduct.

How Much Can I Deduct? You have a short term memory problem, flounder flan. Tell you what, though: I sell paperback romances for a buck each and most hardcover romances are two bucks. Things go up from there. But it’s all between you and the IRS.

Can I Have My Boxes Back? Why, just last week, I looked a gentleman straight in the eye and said, “It is snowing. The wind is blowing. I’m getting over my worst cold since about 1969. Do you really want to stand out here and load 350 books from your boxes to my boxes just so you can have your own cardboard back?”

He said, “Why? Are you short on boxes?”

Sometimes, dromedary dumpling, I offer to swap empty boxes for full ones, even up, so I don’t have to stand out there and repack. I get the same answer every time. “MY boxes are NEW.” So your boxes are better than mine, are they? My boxes were new once too, Honeydew Helper. You were probably new once yourself, but I see you’ve got a few creases in the corners now. Happens to all of us. And I don’t think your lid fits any too tightly these days either, if it comes to that. In fact, I’d duck my head, if I were you, because that’s the recycling truck coming around the corner, and the driver….

You Don’t Take Cookbooks, Do You? Child, where do you think I find all the recipes for flounder flan? 

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