All booked up: Library asks people to pause donations

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 11:07
  • Stacks of books at the Chugiak-Eagle River Library on June 29, 2017. The library placed a summer moratorium on donations after temporarily running out of room to store them, according to staff. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • A sign on the door of the Chugiak-Eagle River Library on June 29, 2017. The library placed a moratorium on donations after temporarily running out of room to store them, according to staff. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

There is such a thing as too many books – even at a public library.

The Chugiak-Eagle River Public Library is asking patrons to stop donating library materials through the end of August, according to library staff. A sign hanging on the library door announces the moratorium: “Thanks to our generous community, we have more material than we have space or power to process.”

“We have to do this periodically,” said Nancy Clark, the Chugiak-Eagle River branch manager.

Normally, she said, all donations are rerouted to the Loussac Library. Items like hardcover books in good condition, DVDs, CDs and books on tape are added to the collection; softcover books and items that can’t be added to the collection are sold via the Friends of the Library’s biannual book sale. Proceeds for the sale are rerouted back into library programs, Clark said.

But with the Loussac Library undergoing construction and slated for temporary closure this summer, extra space is scarce, Clark said. Donated books are piling up.

“It’s just not easy to find space to deal with the donations right now, or to store them,” she said Thursday from her office at the library. “We had to cut it off.”

Still, she said, people persist. Despite the sign on the door, defiant donors keep slipping donated books into the return slot. The library has collected several boxes worth since the sign went up, Clark said. It’s not always books, she said: In the past, people have donated plants and more.

“You’d be surprised,” Clark said.

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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