Ways in which a book finds its way onto the Lawrence Newcomb Libary shelves
If you would like to honor someone special with a gift to the collection, the library staff would be happy to purchase a book and add it to the collection with a special bookplate naming you as the donor. Or, if you are making room on your bookshelves for new acquisitions, we will gladly accept good condition books on botany, plant conservation, ecology, gardening (especially with native plants), and related topics.
Here’s how our process works: If you donate a book we don’t have and which is appropriate for our collection, it will be cataloged with a book plate inscribed with your name, and the book will be put on the shelves. If we already own the book, and the gift book is in better condition or is a later edition than the one found on our shelf, we will use the donated book to replace our worn or outdated copy. Again, your name will be inscribed on the bookplate. If we already have a perfectly good copy of your book on the shelf, library volunteers will try to sell the book in our online bookshop through the Alibris website. Funds from these sales go into the library budget and allow us to buy brand new books to keep the collection current.
If you wish to know more, the Library is usually staffed by library volunteers on Wednesdays. Or, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to donate a book or a collection of books to the Lawrence Newcomb Library.
It is an amazing collection – come see for yourself!
The Lawrence Newcomb Library, specializing in the native plants of New England, has over 4700 monographic titles in its collections. In addition to the circulating collection, you can find the special collections as follows: Reference (non-circulating), Juvenile, Environmental Education, and a Special Collection of rare, fragile, and unique titles (also non-circulating). You can also find journals and native plant society newsletters from all over the United States and Canada.
The original collection, about 800 titles, was gathered and donated by Persis Green, who was Executive Director of New England Wild Flower Preservation Society; the original name of New England Wild Flower Society. In the early 1970’s, this collection was cataloged by librarians Mary Walker and Iola Scheufele. In the years since the library’s founding, the collection has grown almost six times the original size. Remarkably, most of the books in the current collections have been acquired by some form of donation.
Members of the New England Wild Flower Library Committee, staff members, as well as generous members of the Society donate both new and older books to these collections. In particular, over the years our original Librarian Mary Walker has individually donated many hundreds of books to the library (at least 14% of the current collection!).
The Education Department purchases new books for the Library on a limited basis, and we occasionally receive titles gratis from authors or publishers. In the past we had two endowed funds (the McLeod Fund and the Seymour Fund) which we used to purchase current books, but those funds have now been expended.
A great percentage of our books have come in “over the transom” as a result of members and friends of the Society donating new gifts or older titles as home and office bookshelves are weeded. In previous years the Society had a yearly plant and book sale in June. Members would donate books of all kinds and the Library Committee would sort through them and add books that met our collection criteria to the library collections. The rest were sold in the book sale to raise funds for the library. The money raised was specifically reserved for and constituted the primary source of funding for the purchase of new Library books.
The book sale is so yesterday: we now sell duplicate or unneeded donations through the Alibris website (www.alibris.com), and gratefully accept donations of individual titles or collections from members and friends.