What to Do When Faced with That Self-Published Book Donation?

We all have received unsolicited donations of self-published materials from eager community members.  It's hard to accept everything that comes through and painful to find the right words to let down the person who is so proud of their work. Some work is worth adding to the collection - most misses the mark so severely that it is simply impossible to even give it away.  At the same time, one can appreciate all the work and love and passion that the person has put into the work even when it is not noteworthy. 

I like the policy statement at my present job that was developed to help us when faced with this situation:

"We sincerely appreciate local authors who are willing to support the library by donating their works. However, we are not able to add all donated material to the collection. The following paragraphs explain the standards by which materials by local authors are selected for the library collection.

All materials donated to the library become the property of the ...... Public Library and are examined by library staff to determine which are to be added to the collection. The staff, in choosing materials, assures that they meet the criteria established in the ...... Public Library Materials Selection Policy. Materials not selected are offered to other libraries in the ......Library System. Those gifts still remaining are then placed in book sales conducted by the Friends of the Library.

We select only those materials that fit within the scope of our collection. The scope of the circulating collection does not include materials that are rare, unavailable through established vendors, or sparsely owned by other public libraries of similar size. Exceptions may be made for materials by local authors that create community interest by being featured in library or community sponsored programs, as well as those reviewed or publicized via local media.

Although it is necessary for us to subscribe to the above guidelines, we understand the significant effort involved in publishing one’s own creation and applaud the generous spirit with which these materials are offered."

How do you handle this situation?

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