Well, I’m glad you didn’t just sit at home and twiddle your thumbs while Uncle Blogsy was out in the wilds of Iowa. Some of my colleagues at the library started to panic, thinking I might be snowed in forever across the Mississippi, and there wouldn’t be anybody to herd the flocks of donations coming in. But you heeded them not and brought us your finished books to make room for the relatives, the books you never intend to read which your relatives gave you to unwrap, and the books you’re never going to get around to reading, in obedience to that silly New Year’s Resolution you made. This made my colleagues panic even further, but I have returned, and can start looking over what your brought for Uncle Blogsy and the Book Fair elves to work on.
Certainly, the most notable item to come in is the boxed set of W.C. Fields bookends. I am exceedingly grateful for these, but now I really need something appropriate to go between them. Certainly, a few first editions of the Savoy Cocktail Book would be nice, as would a copy or two of So Red The Nose, a celebrity drink mixing guide. The MOST appropriate thing, of course, would be one of those liquor cabinets disguised as a row of books. It doesn’t need to be full—we can always do something about that ourselves—but we do think it would be truly appropriate.
Speaking of appropriate, I accidentally received a donation meant for someone else. This was a self-published book dealing with family history, and the author had written “Book Donation” on it, so it came to me. This was just a minor detail: happens all the time.
What doesn’t happen all the time is that the person donating the book realized that just giving the Newberry a book for its collection might not be an unalloyed joy. So the author also included a check for funds to cover cataloguing and processing of the book to add it to the rows of other books. This is never required, NOR will a bribe convince our selectors to add your novel “Spider-Man Meets King Kong” to the collection. But every book added to the shelves does go through processing, involving time and materials. That check showed a basic comprehension of library work, and bodes well for the quality of the text. Just a hint, in case you were planning to donate your landmark research on naughty playing card manufacture to the Newberry.
For the rest, someone donated a lot of biographies of U.S. political figures, someone else gave us a bunch of books on clipper ships, and a third donor came across with a couple of hard-to-find Civil War narratives. (One of them LOOKS like another genealogical volume. But the editor decided to devote three chapters to unpublished letters describing his uncle’s experiences as a Union medic at the Battle of Gettysburg. Look for that on the Collector’s table in July.)
Now, if you have more goodies like those to drop off, or if you have realized that book your Aunt Booney gave you is not nearly as interesting as you expected it to be, there is a Deposit Box just inside the glass doors off the parking lot. You can leave your books there and go up to get a receipt from the guard at the kiosk, OR take the books to the kiosk. It would be NICE if you would set your donation gently inside the box, preferably still inside the bag you brought it in. The great flaw of any kind of library deposit box is that if people dump loose books into it, covers will get torn off, dust jackets will fall away, and that postcard signed by Grover Cleveland will tumble out of the chapter it’s been marking since 1898. So be kind (and remember that January is still technically a No Donations Month…at least until we deal with all those presents you dropped off in December.)