The Book Swap Stacks


We are used to getting free books at the library. That’s the whole idea. To get the most out of the library’s resources, having a library card that allows us to check out books, DVD’s, toys, puzzles, magazines, and more is part of the deal. The other part of the deal is we bring them back to the library when we’re done with them.

Sometimes, though, there are advantages to skipping even the small amount of bureaucracy that is involved in checking an item out and returning it. For those times, the library has some book swap stands. Here is where they are and how they work.

The stands are located near the back of the circulation desk just outside the Mossner Study (also known as the Quiet Room). The photo with this blog post shows one of the book stacks.

What’s on those stands? A little of everything, all used, all in paperback. What’s missing? There are no library call numbers affixed to any of these books. They are all donations or swaps.

What do you do if you find a book you’d like to read from those stands? Just take it. Don’t bother to stop at the circulation desk. These books aren’t checked out. Walk out the door with it. It is now yours. (This is not an opportunity to bring a bag, fill it up and sell the books in your garage sale or other venue, please. Readers only.)

Where is the swap part? The library asks that you donate the same number of books that you take, so we don’t run out and the titles are freshened up. There are a few ways to do this. Bring a couple books with you that you’re willing to part with, leave them at the book return part of the circulation desk (not on the swap stands), and take as many books as you brought in from the book swap shelves. Or you can take some books you want and later bring different books back – it doesn’t have to happen at the same time. The third possibility is you take the books, don’t have any you’d like to swap, and eventually you bring the same books you took back, again leaving them at the book return. All that works.

The library has rules and standards for what books we keep on the shelves for normal checkout. They need to be in near-pristine condition. The book swap books are normally more worn but clean. That’s why we don’t want you to bring your own books and leave them right on the book swap stands. Leave that part to us. We have protocols. Just drop them at the book return area.

Some examples of what books and authors are on the book swap stands right now encompass several popular genres such as romances, detective stories, mysteries, and action-adventure books.

I noticed Net Force Attack based on the Tom Clancy series, David Gibbons’ The Gods of Atlantis, Vince Flynn’s American Assassin, James Patterson’s Unsolved, Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper (my favorite one of her books), a number of Nora Roberts, Lisa Jackson and Debbie Macomber books, Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Nancy Martin’s Dead Girls Don’t Wear Diamonds, to name only a handful.

Librarian Michelle Duclos says, “We work to keep a balance of different popular genres on these stands so there is something for everyone.”

Very few things in life are as user friendly as the library. The swap stands maximize the easy part to get you in and out with a new (to you) book to read without even checking it out.

See you at the Library!

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