Is it ok to grab used text books from a drop off bin for personal research?
In the summer of 1999, I played drums in a band called Shananagans. We were a punk rock quartet living in a 15-seat passenger van for two months, playing shows across the country on our self-booked DIY tour.
It can get a little boring on the longer stretches of road. I had packed a few books with me for such occasions, most of them written by Kurt Vonnegut. Two months is a long time to go one the road with only a few books, though. Throughout the course of the tour, I’d picked up a few more.
Eventually I had a nice collection going. The problem with living in a van, though, is that space becomes a rather limited commodity. Rather than throwing things away, I decided to give away my books once I had finished them to people who showed any interest. Some of them were trades while others were gifts. When those who had nothing to trade asked what they could do in payment, I told them to simply pass along the book to someone else when they were done.
I’m a firm believer in Karma and in The Golden Rule. Is it okay to grab those used books? Sure, but don’t forget to give back what you’ve taken. It can literally be placing those exact same books back when you’re done with them or other books that you no longer have use for—or both. To put it into layman’s terms, pay it forward. The bad thing to do would be to take without returning back to the Universe.
Just my $0.02