When I first came onboard at University of Alberta Library, several years ago, I was given a tour of our North Campus facilities, including the dwellings of our collections and bibliographic services team where books are prepared for their final on-shelf destiny. To get to the staff workspaces we had to traverse a room filled with shelves and boxes of books that had been donated by former students and ardent supporters of the library. While it was refreshing to see how many people thought of us and our collection, it made me wonder how such a small staff would be able to find the time to comb through these books and make them shelf-ready, on top of dealing with newer items that had priority given their importance to the immediate needs of our students and researchers.
In March 2020, our leadership team found it necessary to revise our gifts-in-kind policy. Under the new policy the University of Alberta Library is no longer able to accept donations of materials for the general library collection, including books, magazines, journals and other multimedia items. This change is due to continuing budget constrictions, which have resulted in staffing reductions. That said, we may be able to make exceptions for items that are rare or extremely unusual for inclusion in Bruce Peel Special Collections, and University of Alberta Archives is willing to consider donations of archival records pertaining to the University of Alberta. You can read our gifts-in-kind policy for further information on this.
So, what do you do if you have some used textbooks that you no longer need? COVID-19 complicates matters, leading to the temporary closure of many organizations, but if you can hold on a little longer, here are a couple of options:
- If the Textbooks are from recent courses, you may be able to sell them back to the University of Alberta Bookstore. Their Textbook Buyback program is currently closed due to COVID-19, however when it reopens you may be able to get some money back for your books.
- University of Alberta Bookstore is partnering with Textbooks for Change. Once the bookstore is able to reopen their Textbook Buyback program, they will accept donations of textbooks from 2003 or later to be sent to help students in East Africa.
- If you have books that don’t necessarily fall under the category of Textbook (novels, non-fiction titles, cookbooks etc.) you can always donate them to EPL or the many charitable organizations and reuse centres in Edmonton that accept book donations.
If none of these options suit your needs, you may want to explore the world of selling your textbooks online (that’s a topic beyond the scope of this post) or you may just need to think about recycling them. I know, it seems harsh to advocate disposing of books, especially coming from a library staff member, but sometimes books outlive their usefulness. It is possible to recycle soft and hard-cover books (remove the cover of hardbound books) in your blue bag. Visit the City of Edmonton’s What Can I Recycle? page for more details.
Though we are no longer able to accept in-kind donations, University of Alberta Library welcomes monetary donations that enable us to continue to offer cutting-edge collections, spaces and services to current and future students and researchers. Visit our Support the Library page to learn more about how you can help us.