Boone County Public Library Book Cellar
Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY
Tuesdays 4-7 p.m.
Wednesdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cash, checks or Library Bucks cheerfully accepted.
Updated June 2021
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: It’s a way of life at the library. Sure, we’re serious about minimizing waste as we go about our jobs on a daily basis. But the mantra also applies to the way we manage the books and other materials in our collection and how we fulfill our central mission of providing information and promoting literacy and learning. Whenever possible, we strive to give materials a second life after they leave our shelves.
When it comes to the collection, it’s actually more like “Renew” than “Reduce.” Multiple copies of former bestsellers, for example, are regularly taken out of circulation as their popularity wanes, supplanted by the latest in-demand releases. Nonfiction works are replaced routinely with updated editions and titles that reflect current and emerging issues and changing tastes and trends. We call this process “weeding,” a particularly fitting term if you think of the library as a garden – a place that brings delight and bears fruit only with thoughtful planning and consistent maintenance.
Some books, admittedly, have either been too well loved or have become too outdated to pass on, and these are sent to the recycling bin (the compost heap, if you will, of the library). We apply the same standards to donated materials, adding some to the circulating collection and recycling others. But the vast majority of our “weeds” and donated items are in perfectly acceptable condition or better, and — in the world of library discards as in the world of horticulture — one person’s weed is another person’s wildflower. That’s where the Book Cellar comes in.
The Book Cellar, the library’s used book shop, is located in the basement level of the Main Library and is open to the public every week on Tuesdays from 4-6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. At this time, only 4 people are permitted in the Book Cellar at a time so please be respectful of others by limiting visits to 15 minutes. At the Book Cellar we offer withdrawn and donated materials – adult, teen and children’s books, books on CD, music CDs and DVDs – almost all at prices of $1.00 or less (and magazines, VHS tapes are free). In addition, all of our locations (except Chapin) have book-sale shelves where items can be purchased anytime the library is open. We can think of no better way of extending the life of books than passing them on to members of our community at great value.
A small number of withdrawn or donated books provide extra bang for the buck in terms of return on investment. These are titles with especially high resale value that we sell online in partnership with Better World Books (BWB), a so-called “triple bottom line” enterprise that incorporates social and environmental responsibility into its business model by donating books and funds to literacy initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. The proceeds from books we sell through BWB are used for special collection-related purchases, such as book kits and summer reading programs.
And there are other ways we extend the life – and thereby stretch the value — of withdrawn and donated books. Some are used as giveaways at outreach events; others are taken to homebound patrons and residents of nursing homes. Subject to availability, the library provides books to Boone County teachers for classroom use. In past years, we have given books to the Sons of the American Revolution, which distributed them to Veterans Administration hospitals.
If you have donated books or other materials to BCPL, we thank you for helping to sustain and grow these efforts. If you have already discovered the Book Cellar, we thank you for your patronage and look forward to seeing you next time. If you’ve never been to the Book Cellar, stop in and pick yourself a “wildflower” (or a whole bouquet of them, as most of our visitors do!). The library is a bountiful garden, and it’s our mission to share it.
Jenny Walsh is BCPL’s Book Sale Room Assistant — or, as she likes to put it, Purveyor of Unlikely Treasures. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she has lived in Kentucky for 12 years and been with the library since 2011.