Here at the library we have a new addition, and you can see it anytime you like. Just drive down Church Street and pull into the alleyway just after Orrington. On your left, on the east side of the library, you’ll see a big green bin. It kind of looks like a drop box for library books and you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as such, were it not for the large sign plastered at the top that reads, “STOP – NO LIBRARY RETURNS.”

No library returns? Outside a library? Yet down below it clearly says “drop books here.” What kind of bin is this anyway?

Introducing the Better World Books bin for book donations. As some of you may have noticed, the library is no longer accepting donations these days. We have no annual book sale any longer, but that doesn’t mean folks in town don’t want to give us their books. After all, they could be worth something. The Better World Books bin alleviates this problem. You see, when we accepted physical donations the people of Evanston were generous. VERY generous. TOO generous. It took constant work by library volunteers and staff to perform the sorting work needed (someone recently called it “triage” and I don’t think the term is out of place).  
Does the bin itself do the sorting? Nope. The folks from the company Better World Books come, empty the bin and sort the contents.  Don’t put your library books in there, though! Once a book has been donated, it’s never coming back. Next, the company will sell the books online, and part of every sale of the books donated goes to our library.

So the next time you wonder what to do with that book that’s been gathering dust on your shelf for too long, stop by the library and look for the big green bin. Just don’t drop in your library books.

The Library Has Also Recommended These  Venues for Book Donation:

Goodwill, 1916B Dempster St., 847-905-1202.

Open Books:; call 312-475-1355 for more information about this non-profit Chicago organization that cultivates the literacy skills of thousands of children and youth each year, from those who need intervention to those who desire enrichment

The Salvation Army, 4335 Oakton St., Skokie, 800-728-7825.

Betsy Bird

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library. She has been writing for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.