No donations yet – please

One of the few good things that resulted from the shelter in place order has been a plethora of cleaning, reorganizing, sorting and selecting items to donate to a variety of charitable and not-for-profit organizations. Ergo, we have donors who are anxious to give us their books and under normal circumstances, we’d happily take the materials for our book sale.

But, these are not normal times, despite our counties having gone green.

Green hasn’t brought any changes to the guidelines under which the library must operate. We are still masking, disinfecting and cleaning on an hourly schedule, wearing gloves and quarantining all returned materials for 72 hours before making them available for you to borrow.

Repeat after me, “All materials returned or donated to the Library MUST BE QUARANTINED FOR 72 HOURS.” Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem, except …

We had more than 21,000 items checked out from when we closed in March. Now they are being returned in record numbers so we have partitioned off tables of books being checked in each day and isolated until we are absolutely positive they are safe for circulation.

When we closed in March, we were anticipating the Spring Book Sale in April. Our book sale shelves were full from top to bottom. Had we been able to have the sale, we would have cleared the space so we might have been able to accept donations.

Right now we have no place/space to quarantine donations. Frankly, our book sale and community room would make a perfect segment for A&E Network’s “Hoarders” show.

Mifflin County Chapter, Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees generously contribute their time and talent to orchestrate this massive undertaking of selling books twice a year. They work tirelessly all year long to make this happen for the benefit of the community and the Library.

Please note the key designation RETIREES. Generally, this word refers to a group that is of a certain age. Members of the group are in the high risk category for COVID-19. We do not want them to take any unnecessary risks and we think that handling materials where the virus can live 24-72 hours is just too dicey, right now.

While we really do understand that you have been storing your donations since you cleaned/organized, we are simply unable to take them off your hands for the next 3-4 months. We thank you for your patience and understand if you would like to give them to another organization.

Please be aware if you put donated items in the book drop, or leave them by the front door, we put them in the trash. And, if you leave them in a suitcase by the exit door, we throw out the suitcase too. Fussing at us or explaining that you’ve had them in your trunk for months won’t make us take them either.

We do sympathize with your frustration as we are suffering from caution fatigue as well. Welcome to the new normal, or whatever our current situation is.

Happy Fourth of July from the Board of Directors, Staff, and Friends of the Mifflin County Library.


Dr. Molly S Kinney is the Director of the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading The Reckoning by John Grisham and has nightmares about piles and piles of books.


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