November 17, 2009

How to get Free Books you Want

Do you have duplicates and unwanted books taking up precious space in your library? Do you receive donations you can’t use? Trade those undesirables for books you want using an online book-swap program. Internet book-swapping sites are becoming more and more popular thanks to a growing number of environment conscious readers and readers with shrinking personal budgets.

How does it work? A member account is first set up by each user. Members use the website to list the books they no longer want and request books they do want. Members receive notice when one of their unwanted books has been requested and mail the book to the requester.

Books you request are sent to you for free. Senders pay the postage, which for an average book is just over $2 (Media Mail postal rate). There is no charge to set up a member account.

Usually a point system is maintained to track the number of books a member is eligible to request. Book lists can be browsed by subject, or members can use the site’s search feature to look for a book by title, author or ISBN. Users can also create a wish list and get email notifications when a desired title is newly listed by another member. On some sites, users can even request that wish list books be automatically sent when available.

John Clark, a successful book-swapping librarian in Hartland, Maine, was recently in featured in the Bangor Daily (Maine) News . . . Read John’s story >>>

Book Mooch, Paper Back Swap, and Swap Tree are three popular swap sites with larger inventories of religious titles that church librarians may find appealing.

Check out book-swapping sites today and start turning your undesirable books into desirables!

Review these titles: Booklist Online's Top Religion Picks

The November ALA Booklist Online Spotlight on Religion and Spirituality issue announces their Top Ten lists of books and videos. Click on the links below to view the lists.

We invite you to review these titles! Would these titles make good additions to a church library collection? Annotated bibliographies give more information about the titles on each list. Make comments here on the Branches blog to share your recommendations and reservations with your peers.

Top 10 Books in Religion and Spirituality
Top 10 Religion Books for Youth
Top 10 Religion Videos

Type your comments in the text box below to review a title on any of these lists.

Stretch your Library Budget at Half Price Books

Submitted by Kathleen Bowman, Librarian, Faith Lutheran Church, Appleton WI

Do you have a Half Price Books store in your area? Half Price Books is a large new and used retail bookstore chain with more than 100 stores in 15 states. Stores buy from the public, which makes the merchandise in each store unique.

When you bring in your unwanted books to Half Price Books, you receive a cash payment which you can spend on the spot.

Half Price Books is a great place to find books to add to your library. Books are shelved according to categories so it is easy to see if they have what you need.

As a church library worker, you are eligible for a 10% discount. Ask about signing up for the Educator Discount Card when you go to the store. To sign up, you will need to show an ID card or provide other verification such as a letter from your church.

Another great service for church libraries is their Library Donation Activities Program. Stores often receive more books than they want to stock and give these away to eligible organizations. Bring in a letter of introduction on church letterhead stating your name and position with your church library, tax exempt ID number, your interest in book donations, the subject area(s) you are interested in and how to contact you. Your information will be kept on file and you will be notified when they have a box of books for you.

Whether or not there is a store in your area, it is worth checking out Half Price Books stores when you are traveling. Because of the uniqueness of each store’s selection, customers traveling the country will find something different at every location.

Find more information about Half Price Books on their website

Spotlight on Wisconsin

NCLA Wisconsin Chapters Share News from Fall Meetings

NCLA’s West Central Wisconsin Chapter met on September 19, 2009, at Trinity United Methodist in Chippewa Falls, WI.

Pastor D. J. Rasner, English Lutheran Church, Bateman, WI, opened with a devotion on book selection. He shared his thoughts on how he does not envy church librarians trying to choose the “gems” for the collection from all the titles available.

The main speaker of the morning was Nancy Clark Scobie, an author who, with approximately 80-100 Chippewa Falls, WI area grandmothers, compiles collections of memories in a series of books called “Poetica Grandma-tica.” They recently completed their 5th annual edition. Nancy believes “All of us have books within ourselves.”

We also had a roundtable discussion about how our own congregations, through their church libraries, can encourage others to share their stories. As an example, one congregation has its members write memories on a particular theme. These memories are then compiled and handed out as Advent Readings each year. Nancy suggested that this could be done as a fundraiser. Booklets could be bound together at the top or side simply with yarn.

The Business meeting followed, and members were encouraged to volunteer for officer positions at the upcoming Spring meeting.

At the end of the meeting, some new, donated books were given to church libraries with smaller collections who graciously accepted these books. (This is definitely a common tie between all the NCLA chapters, that there are church libraries of all sizes. Do we, in our own Chapters, know the sizes of each other’s church libraries?)

Meeting some of the members of the West Central Wisconsin Chapter was a very special time of faith and fellowship for me. I look forward to gathering with them again!

Kathleen Bowman
NCLA Board Member

Fox Valley Chapter Fall 2009 Meeting

The Fox Valley Chapter (Wisconsin) met on Saturday, October 3, 2009, at Ascension Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI. The meeting focused on books that deal with children in the center of personal and family issues such as divorce, bullying, blended families and other serious topics.

The guest speaker for the meeting was Amy Vanden Plas, owner of Butterfly Books, a secular bookstore in De Pere, WI. Amy handed out an excellent bibliography of titles that could be used in church libraries, and shared the contents of a number of the titles. The attendees appreciated the list, as they never could have kept up with all the wonderful suggestions Amy presented!

After a break, the business meeting was conducted, and an election of officers took place. The members then gathered in a circle to share items they had brought from their own church libraries applicable to the day’s topic. NCLA’s Resources for Church Librarians booklists were a valuable source librarians used when choosing titles in this category for their libraries. It was interesting to see the diversity of titles on the topic and to discover that the amount of information in our libraries did not necessarily correlate with the size of the library. Adult titles, such as parenting guides, were also shared. A side light of this was seeing how other church libraries catalog and classify the materials.

The meeting ended with a wonderful lunch, and social time.

Kathleen Bowman
NCLA Board of Directors