What is the answer?

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Jon Hanson, Aug 17, 2003.

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  1. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    DUPLICATE BOOKS:

    The NAWCC receives thousands of books annually from donations. Many are common and not needed for either the library or the lending library, so the NAWCC sells them.

    Two problems that worry certain individuals:

    1. the NAWCC should (needs to) sell for the highest price possible

    2. some believe that the NAWCC owes the membership FIRST CRACK

    THE ANSWER:

    I believe that the NAWCC should sell duplicate books to the highest bidder/buyer, irrespective of membership. If Ebay achieves the highest price (and everyone knows the cash starved assoc. could use the money), then notice the membership about the "public sales", save space (AND MART PAPER & PRINTING COSTS), save time, satisfly IRS R & R, use the money wisely for needed material or library associated projects and sell on Ebay.

    Make a decision and get on with it!

    Jon

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  2. Tom Chaudoir

    Tom Chaudoir Guest

    Hi Jon,

    This may not be the most effective way to reach your intended audience. For questions about policy and procedure, I suggest an email to council or the relevant committee members.

    Regards,

    Tom Chaudoir
    Milwaukee, WI
    America
    150429
     
  3. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Jon,
    Recognizing the validity of both of your points ("problems"), NAWCC members might be offered a discount (5% or 10%) if they are the winning bidder in an auction. This would give the members a slight edge but would still get a fair price for the Library by having an auction with the broadest access.
     
  4. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    because then the price would not be the maximum! :p

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  5. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Jon's position is correct. The Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the return on any deaccession, whether from the Library or the Museum.

    They have recently taken steps to start following that requirement. A decision was made in their April meeting to not place surplus clocks in the auction that was held at the National in Charlotte, but to look for a public auction venue. They also stated that any such auction would be notified to NAWCC members, but they would have no special privileges.

    How to best hold public auctions needs some consideration, especially of who is going to handle the details and how much staff time will it require. I think everyone is aware we are short on staff so this is not an idle question. eBay has been suggested and that needs to be looked at, but managing eBay sales will take significant time for a staff member to handle, to post, follow up, get the money, and ship the item. Initially at least, I expect the items will be placed in a venue that will only requre identification of the items and shipping them to the Auctioneer who will handle all the details.

    John Hubby
    1st Vice President
     
  6. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    John H,

    Thanks for the reply; however, (in my opinion) would it not be a good job for the library committee? Why can't Fortunate be in charge? Could this be within the committee chair's responsibility--to see that the library succeeds in sales of unwanted books?

    The NAWCC is made up mostly of volunteers, one more duty for the load of members that volunteer their time? Seems fair to me--help the NAWCC, whereby an income stream is welcomed!

    Why not?

    Thanks again, John, for your response and interest.

    Jon

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  7. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Jon, the reason I mentioned staff doing this is that if we do put stuff on eBay, whoever is handling it needs to be a legal representative of the NWCM (or NAWCC after the merger).

    I will check on the legal requirements to be sure. The minimum would likely be that the Trustees would need to authorize one or more persons to do the job, then each one would have to enter into a contract with the NWCM and be bonded (our employees are bonded so no problem there). That might be a bit of a hassle, but not that big a deal and I think there would be volunteers willing to do it.

    John Hubby
    1st Vice President
     
  8. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    in a word--delegate!

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  9. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Horological Bibliographer -
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    To the Messageboard:

    Director Ray Faychamps a few days ago aked about this subject and I answered him directly. I am attaching my reply to him below. It explains the current procedures and the current position of the library committee.

    Fortunat

    Dear Ray

    Like most issues in this case there is both rules/procedures AND judgment involved.

    The rules come partly from the general professional and governance guidelines for the museum world, which are incorporated and expanded in the procedures for the library.

    Several rules are inviolate:
    1- Any funds raised from disposal of items from the collection MUST be used to build the collection (i.e. for acquisitions) and can NOT be used for operating expenses. (From AMA guidelines), i.e. the moneys raised go into the "restricted" Library Acquisition fund.
    2- In this regard we have chose to incorporate into our procedures the most conservative interpretation, in that we treat the disposal of "unneeded donations" (duplicates of donated publications we already have enough of) like items deaccessioned from the collection (even if they never were in the collection and technically speaking thus can not be deaccessioned).
    3.- We have and follow strict conflict of ethics rules that prevent any staff member , or any officer from acquiring items from the Library. The same is true for Volunteers and COmmittee Members if they were in any way involved with the disposition of the item (e.g. the decision to dispose of it, in setting the price etc.).
    4.- Our procedures also make clear that all dispositions must be in a way that gives ALL Members of NAWCC an chance to compete for the item.
    5. The general professional guidelines for Museums and other non-profits demand that all dispositions must be done in a manner that "maximizes the benefit to the institution". This does NOT mean it must be sold to the highest bidder, it can e.g. . also mean that it can be thrown in the trash if the labor and effort to sell the item outweighs the likely price realized.


    There is NO RULE and NO POLICY/PROCEDURE in place that says Members must get a exclusive or preferred right to acquire such items, and indeed many minor items (priced under 10$) are e.g. disposed through an ongoing "sales shelf" in the library to anybody who walks in because it has been determined that the cost benefit ratio of this venue is the most attractive.

    Traditionally more important publications have been disposed of through periodic SILENT AUCTIONS through the MArt Magazine which are open to Members only. Many member see this as a valuable member benefit, and some erroneously believe it is a RIGHT of the members.

    The Library Committee has discussed this issue at length over time and is aware of possible conflicts:
    -- A member only sale may NOT get the absolute highest price
    -- But the "goodwill" generated from the members toward LARC, generated by offering them "exclusive rights" also is a "benefit to LARC" and is of some "value to the Library". A major portion of our revenues comes indirectly from the Members' annual fee and it is therefore also part of our mission to keep the Members happy.

    Given that the value of the items disposed of through LARC is relatively modest (compared to let us say disposing of a clock from the Museum) The potential upside between the max price realized from a member and from the public is relatively modest. This "lost potential" has been further minimized recently by Librarian Nancy Dyer spending more time to research market prices before setting minimum bids in the most recent silent auction.

    The status at the present time is:

    The library committee is planing to eventually experiment with various other, more open ways of disposal (provided Members also have a chance to participate, e.g. ebay) but we feel that in these times of uncertainty it is definitively NOT the right time now to try new things that need explanations to the members, and that may appear (even if erroneously) to them as "curtailing a (perceived) member benefit".

    Fortunat Mueller-MAerki
    Library Chair

    .
    Ray Fanchamps wrote:

    Council Members, Library Chairperson,
    The recent sale of books has brought up the issue of disposing of
    duplicate/surplus library books to "members only" as a "member benefit" .
    How do rules in the Museum/ Library community and IRS guidelines (if any)
    impact the disposing of donated items in this manner ?
    Also raised is the issue of maximizing the return on these sales. By
    limiting the participating audience to "members only" one may be limiting
    the potential return. Where does maximizing the financial return fit into
    the disposal program ?
    Are we meeting all obligations with "member only" sales?
    Both issues may be resolved by offering the items in public venues. Today
    ebay is a public venue offering tremendous potential in returns for very
    little effort. Other systems may be more appropriate depending of the
    item but the point is the same, public sales with little effort and maximum
    return. Such sales should meet any need to make the sales public and, maybe
    most important, to maximize the return.
    I would appreciate comments on the issue.

    Thank you

    Ray Fanchamps

    Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, pob 386, Sussex NJ 07461

    NAWCC Life # 174
    Chair, NWCM Library and Research Center Committee


    You can reach me at horology@horology.com
     
  10. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    however, let's say that the library has 10, 20 or more of the same book, a common one about the $10 level. Now, the library peple have decided to sell these on the shelf at the museum. So,.........why would it not make sense to take one of these (or a group of similar multiples at the ten dollar level) and attempt to sell them on ebay, one at a time to test the market:???:

    What would this example I have raised mean:

    1. saved expenses

    2. many copies still held for sales to the membership about which FMM is so concerned

    3. a potential higher price

    4. exposure of the NAWCC to the WORLD of Ebay and hopefully added new memberships

    5. additional revenue for the library's acquisition fund

    6. rid of clutter

    Jon

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club

    http://nawcc-mb.infopop.cc/eve/forums?a=frm&s=2386079361&f=4446088461
     
  11. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Horological Bibliographer -
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    In reality there are probably hardly any titles we have 10 or 20 copies of, there are some where we may have accumulated a handfull of donated copies, but even that is rare.

    As I said, I am not at all opposed to use e-bay as well.

    The bottleneck , as allways is manpower (personpower?) in Columbia. Let us assume we get a donation of 300 horological books from the estate of a member who passes away (Donations of this size probably come in on average once a year).

    First somebody (a volunteer) has to make an inventory of what is received so a proper donation receipt can be issued.


    Then this inventory list has to be checked item for item against the library catalog to see which ones we do not have 2 copies of yet (one or more for lending , one for onsite research).

    The next step is determining if some of the surplus donations are in physically significxant better shape than the copies we allready have (who may be falling appart from heavy use). If so the copy at LARC gets swapped out against the better copy and the worse copy is amrked "withdrawn" and disposed off (That is why the silent auction features some books with LARC library markings)

    Then somebody with a sense for the market in horological books needs to determine an approx. value, no use in going through the work of cateloging it for the silent auction if it will bring only 5$.

    Then a price decision (minimum bid for silent auction, actual asking price for sales shelf) must be made.

    Most of this work requires a physical presence of the volunteer in Columbia, and te local library volunteers get assigned to this kind of task only if no time critical tasks (research requests) are pending.

    Is anybody surprised that we have a backlog?

    Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, pob 386, Sussex NJ 07461

    NAWCC Life # 174
    Chair, NWCM Library and Research Center Committee


    You can reach me at horology@horology.com
     
  12. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Why would anybody in their right money ruin two books?

    If one is worn and one is mint--SELL THE MINT ONE and LOAN OUT THE WORN ONE.

    Worn will only become more worn! After it falls apart, who cares (?); wait for another to come in!

    (and I thought you guys were book experts!)

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club

    http://nawcc-mb.infopop.cc/eve/forums?a=frm&s=2386079361&f=4446088461
     
  13. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    for library loaners-has anybody ever heard of rebinding?

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  14. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
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    John Hanson asks:

    Has anybody heard of rebinding?


    The answer: Yes, we do rebind if that is more economical, but with most in print books rebinding costs more than a new copy, and even with many out of print books it is "cheaper" to swap out against a good condition donation, i.e. the rebinding cost exceeds what we could get selling the donation.

    Incidentally we also hardcover bind some new paperback lending copies which we expect to get heavy use

    As allways: A lot of these things involve judgement calls, and have to be left to the people doing the work day to day, and can not necessarily be answeed sitting at home in front of a screen.

    Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, pob 386, Sussex NJ 07461

    NAWCC Life # 174
    Chair, NWCM Library and Research Center Committee


    You can reach me at horology@horology.com
     
  15. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Fortunat,

    Yes, being there might be best--therefore, should the chair either be a book specialist/advanced collector or live in the Lancaster vicinity?

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  16. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Jon asks:
    therefore, should the chair either be a book specialist/advanced collector or live in the Lancaster vicinity?

    My (admittedly selfserving :biggrin: ) answer to this is: The Chair (and the committee members in general) should not necessarily be the one(s) doing hours and hours of detail work on site, as their role is to provide policy and procedural guidelines, to provide perspective and reality checks for the management and staff.


    Nevertheless I believe firmly (and act according to my believes) that at least the chair (and desirable most of the committee members) must spend significant and regular time on site to observe and learn what the up-front and detailed issues are.

    In my case I try to spend 2to3 days in Columbia at least every second month on a combination of private research work, volunteer work for the library, liason with all NAWCC staff etc. (And not getting ANY expense reimbursement for that).

    I feel this combination of first hand expusre and distance is optimal for any oversight body.


    (It can well be argued that all Council Members should do the same. I frankly find it hard to see how one can be an effective Director without visting Columbia at least 3 to 4 times a year. But as the Directors expense budget does NOT allow that making this a requirement would disenfranchise Director candidates who doe not have the $$ to devote to such service.)

    :biggrin:

    Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, pob 386, Sussex NJ 07461

    NAWCC Life # 174
    Chair, NWCM Library and Research Center Committee


    You can reach me at horology@horology.com
     
  17. Jon Hanson

    Jon Hanson Registered User
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    Thanks for the reply,

    Question: are you the one who selected the L. committee?

    Jon Hanson, NAWCC #8801
    Founder and President Chapter 149, The Early American Watch Club
     
  18. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Jon asks: who slects the members of the Library Committee?

    All committee members (incl. Chairpeople) within the Museum corporation anre appointed by the Board of Trustees of the NWCM.

    While legalistically speaking any Trustee can nominate, de facto -and rightfully so- the Trustees rely on various factors to reach their selections, including who they know, personal impressions, self-nominations/declarations of interest, precedent (people who have served sucsessfully before), andf the judgement of the chairperson who will have to work smoothly with the members of the committee.

    I personally feel an optimal committee must have a blend of talents, style and backgrounds, tied together by the willingness to serve (i.e. caring and working).

    Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, pob 386, Sussex NJ 07461

    NAWCC Life # 174
    Chair, NWCM Library and Research Center Committee


    You can reach me at horology@horology.com
     

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