As a Los Angeles resident, I often use the LA Public Library. As a library student, I often study the LA Public Library for class assignments. One of the things I have discovered lately is that LAPL does not have a donation policy. This immediately disappointed me, not only because every library ought to have a donation policy, but because I have valuable books that I would like to give.
Seeing the advantages that Twitter offers in terms of direct communication, I decided to test its effectiveness in contacting the enormous LAPL about book donations. Before doing so, however, I decided to use the library’s Ask A Librarian service in order to be absolutely certain that no donation policy exists. I simply asked: “Does the LAPL have a policy regarding book donations? If so, how can I read it?”
A member of staff lamely replied:
LAPL does not have a written policy. Some LAPL branches have used book sales to raise money for library services. Please contact your local branch for further information about making a donation. http://www.lapl.org/branches/
Thank you for using the Los Angeles Public Library.
I then took to Twitter and fired off the following: @LApubliclibrary Why don’t you have a donation policy? I have lots of books to donate, but how do I know what will happen to them?
The following day I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary The County of LA Public Library has a Collection Policy that mentions donations: colapublib.org/aboutus/collec… Why don’t you?
Five days later, still no response. I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary what do I have to do to get a response?
The next day I got one: @musophilus Thnx for your interest. Please contact your local branch re: their donation process. lapl.org/branches Have a great day.
Another non-answer. I responded: @LApubliclibrary My local branch doesn’t have a donation policy. Does the Central Library have one?
That same day I received the following response: @musophilus Hi, call 213-228-7000. Thnx for thinking of us!
Okay, I thought, they’re finally offering to speak to me now. On calling the number, I realized that I had been given the main phone number for the Central Library. I tweeted: @LApubliclibrary Who should I ask for?
Less than an hour later, they responded: @musophilus Ask for central library services dept, and someone there will assist you. 213-228-7000
So, I finally spoke to someone. They asked me what kind of books I wished to donate and then transferred me to the relevant department. I talked to a very gracious librarian who has arranged for me to deliver the books through my local branch.
While I haven’t succeeded yet in urging the LAPL to write and implement a donation policy, at least I finally established contact. I look forward to seeing what else I can do with Twitter in the future.