On May 1, 2009, at 1:33 PM, Poor Scholar wrote:

Is it ok to grab used text books from a drop off bin for per­sonal research?

Poor Scholar

Poor Scholar,

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
Julius Pleasar

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