Looking to clear out some space at your home or business? Have any old books, movies, magazines or CDs lying around, taking up space and collecting dust because you don't use them anymore? Consider donating those items to the library.

When someone donates new or gently used books, DVDs and other items to Southwest Public Libraries, staff members can add the new items to the library's collection or the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Either way, you have the chance to share with fellow patrons.

As part of the library's collection, donated items become available for patrons to borrow. Before deciding to add a donated item to the collection, staff members determine whether the item fills a gap in the catalog -- a best-seller the library lacks, for example. If it is an item we do have and many patrons have requested the item, we add it to the collection to help meet the demand. If the new item is in better condition than an identical copy the library owns, staff members will swap them.

Donated items also can go to the Friends of the Library Book Sale. At the Grove City Library, they are found in the Friends of the Library Book Sale room on the first floor across from the circulation desk, and at Westland Area Library, sale items are displayed near the entrance, making them the first items patrons see when they walk into the building. Both branches conduct sales at their circulation desks.

Hardback books and audiovisual items go for $1, paperbacks are 50 cents and magazines are 25 cents. Some items have special prices marked on yellow stickers.

The stock varies depending on what people donate, but patrons often can find an eclectic mix of best-sellers, mysteries, nonfiction works, young-adult literature and more. You might see Tom Clancy with Elizabeth George or Michael Crichton next to Mary Higgins Clark. The turnover is constant; newly donated items arrive almost every day.

Sale revenue helps fund the Friends of Southwest Public Libraries, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the mission of the library system. Members of the Friends conduct fundraisers, perform volunteer work and run public-awareness efforts in the community on behalf of the library system. For more information about the group, visit swpl.org.

Patrons can donate materials at both library locations. Materials should be in new or gently used condition. Staff members will not add damaged items to the collection or the sale.

Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at mdubovec@swpl.org.