Did you know the Placitas Community Library is not a traditional public library?

Placitas Community Library. Gary Herron photo.

It is a 501c3 nonprofit that depends on private donations and is powered by over 100 volunteers and minimal paid staff.

Placitas is an unincorporated area and has no supporting tax base. Therefore, the library needs to raise funds for many of its operations.

It is funded by bond monies from the state and Sandoval County, and this covers materials, computers and some expenses.

The library also generates its own income by hosting art shows; having a donated books program; hosting community events such as book, bake and plant sales; receiving money from donated vehicles; and sending the annual fundraising letter to community members.

Another source of income is Amazon Smile, where anyone can designate a local charity to receive a small-percentage donation from Amazon on every purchase made. Bookmark Amazon Smile so when you sign in, your spending generates donations.

To sign up to support PCL, when you are on the Amazon Smile page, click on “Generate donations for charity while you shop using Amazon Smile at no expense to you.” On the right side of the page, you can type in “Placitas Community Library.”

PCL is getting back into the swing of community adult and children’s programs, book sales and other activities as COVID precautions allow. During COVID, the library remained open for pick-up of books reserved online and maintained the donated books program, but volunteer participation was greatly curtailed.

The volunteer program is soliciting new volunteers and providing orientations to see what areas volunteers would like to support. Also, volunteers are meeting on the second Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. for networking, training, sharing of information and coffee.

The Donated Books Program is essentially a small business, generating sales from the lobby and on Amazon. Donated books, DVDs and CDs in good-as-new, good and acceptable condition are received during business hours.

Books not in good condition, especially dirty, water-damaged or pest-damaged books, cannot be resold. PCL does not accept encyclopedias, magazines or similar materials.

Incoming books are sorted and valued. When deemed profitable with a reasonable value after shipping costs, donated books are listed on Amazon for re-sale.

Lobby sales of hardcover and paperback books are carefully curated as to condition, date of publication and topic. Lobby sales of CDs, DVDs and specialty books are included.

Paperbacks are generally $1, and hardbacks are $2. Books of general interest are sold during twice-annual book sales, which might be paired with bake, plant, Talavera and flea-market items.

Books not sold are provided to other nonprofits to disseminate donated books within nearby communities.

A maximum of two boxes at a time is suggested, as space for processing and storing books is limited.

Large donations should be coordinated with the library staff, who can provide guidelines. The library discourages donations of old, dusty and bug- or rodent-infested books to protect staff and the book collection at the library.

PCL thanks the community for all of your support. The library is a vital community resource.

(Deborah Coffey is a member of the Placitas Community Library Donated Books Team.)