The donations that we receive never cease to amaze me.

It's a little bit like Christmas to open up the bags and boxes to see what is in them. I know without fail when I work through the latest donations that as soon as I turn my back or miss a day that I will come back to find piles of books waiting for me.

This past Monday I found the largest donation to date: about 35 boxes (approximately 800 books). It turns out that they are all hardback science fiction or fantasy books with a few exceptions and in excellent condition. I called the donor to thank him and to tell him how great it was to receive them in prime condition.

We have a large group of people in our area that are big SciFi and Fantasy readers, so I know they are going to be thrilled when the books finally make it to the shelves. Unfortunately, that will not be anytime soon.

Our cataloguing department has been over-whelmed with the volume of books being added since last year when the ordering for the new Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Library collection was taking place. Between being short staffed and now working with a hiring freeze things have not eased up for getting donations processed.

I have been backed up with other donations for a year, but did manage to get a few boxes of new books, large print and some non-fiction added before technical had to call a halt again this week.

If you've been thinking about bringing in some books I'd ask you to please wait a few more months, especially if they are hardbacks. If they are paperbacks I can usually add 2009 ones and a lot will go to our honors collection. Many that we already have or that are in poor condition go to the sale shelves. Those I can readily process.

If you have magazines to give away feel free to bring them in. I don't attempt to sell magazines, they go to the give away shelves and quickly find new homes. Teachers and parents who home school love to get National Geographic magazines.

When you donate books I go through a process to see if they are going to be added to the collection. I check to see if we already have the book, and if so, whether the donated book is in better condition. If the book is from a popular author and we don't have that title, or it fills a gap in a series, or it is going to replace a book, I add it to the collection.

If we don't need it I check to see if another library has that author and send it to them to fill a gap. If the book is non-fiction it often depends upon the subject and date of publication as to whether I add it to the collection. If we have a newer book(s) on the subject it goes to the sale shelves.

Depending upon the type of book, I occasionally send some to the American Association of University Women. They are housed at the Neyland Library.

When they have their annual used book sale they always give a major donation to our library system. They can often get more for Texana books, historical books, and other special interests books than we can.

The last resort is putting the books on the sale shelves. For the most part the books find good homes and are enjoyed once again. Your donations do make a difference in our collection. You are entitled to a tax deduction for your donations.

We are happy to give you a form to verify that you donated a certain number of books and you are responsible for putting a value on the books. It helps if you count the number of hardbacks, trade paper and paperbacks before you bag or box them.

Lynda Whitton is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.