Rather than throwing old books out, or trying to sell them, I often donate them to my local public library. This is because I believe in giving back to the community, and since I have quite a little library myself, I’ve got plenty to give away. Libraries usually prefer hardcover books for donation. This is because hardcovers are more durable, and they tend to have a longer shelf life. So when it comes to donation, my hardcover books are usually the first to go. I tend to take my old paperbacks to a used bookstore instead, which I usually sell to them at a nominal price for store credit, as they don’t usually need to be as durable. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the local public library can be a great evangelistic opportunity.
I live in a highly Evangelical area here in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri. Most of the people around here are either Baptist or Pentecostal, and a lot of them are homeschoolers. Consequently, these people use the local library system quite a bit. So it occurred to me that one of the best ways to spread the truth about the Catholic Church into any local region is through the local library system. So today, I picked up a couple hardcover copies of my book “Are Catholics Christian?” and donated it to my local library. I figure if I estimate conservatively, over the course of about 10 years, those books might be read about 100 times. That’s 100 people I might have never reached on my own. That’s 100 people who will learn the truth about the Catholic Church, in an area filled with misinformation and misunderstandings about what the Catholic Church teaches. That’s 100 people who will be educated, enlightened, and may tell others what they’ve learned. Again, this is just a conservative estimate. Over the course of 10 years, it’s always possible more people could read it. I may never know.
So I was thinking this might be a way anyone could do a little local Catholic evangelization without ever having to do a whole lot. It doesn’t involve spending a lot of money, or gaining a lot of evangelistic training. It’s not time consuming, and it’s pretty easy. It took me all but five minutes to donate those two books. In fact, it was so easy, I’ll probably donate a couple more in a year or two, just to make sure my local library system has plenty at their disposal. I don’t expect they’ll need more than that, so we’re not talking about donating a whole lot. This is a way we can get the truth out to the public, about our beautiful Catholic Faith, counter misunderstanding and misinformation, all at a pretty low cost with virtually no effort. I am proposing that my readers buy just one hardcover copy of my book, “Are Catholics Christian?,” read it and then donate it to your local public library, with no strings attached. Just support your public library with a single book donation, and if you have any other hardcover books laying around (like some other titles), maybe donate those too. If you’re feeling especially generous, and evangelistic, maybe repeat the process next year.
If you would like to learn more about my book first, by all means, check out the information page first at RegnumDeiPress.Com. Just be sure to use the hardcover when donating to your public library. Paperbacks are more for personal use, or giving away to friends. Ebooks are almost exclusively for personal use. Libraries like hardcovers. Remember that. They like durable books they can put on the shelf that last for years.
Great idea. I admit I tend to hoard books, even those I know I will never read again (or never read at all).
Unfortunately the libraries around my place are likely to judge any book voicing a Catholic view on anything as “politically incorrect” and throw it straight in a dumpster. Any Catholic books I don’t want I leave in a church or a “street library” (a weatherproof box in someone’s front yard facing the footpath. They’ve become very common around here the past few years.)
Sadly, all books that are donated to our library go to the big book sale. We have found great books at the sale but also books that were meant to evangelize. For example, I found about 10 copies of Regina Doman’s Angel in the Water marked inside “gift of Smith Family…”.
Our librarians told us they only buy new books on “the list” to put on the shelves and that we could suggest books for purchase.
I would double check with the library before donating books for them to put on the shelves.
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