« Back to Operations

Property Disposal Program

Santa Clara County Library

Problem Statement

Our library is funded from taxes collected specifically for the library and library related services, however when disposing of excess or unused property the proceeds were going to the County’s general fund. In these tight budget times we needed a way to return the taxpayer dollars back to the library organization. Another issue was that library centric furniture and items weren’t being offered to other local libraries and non-profits in need.


The change took several phases:

  1. Had the JPA Board amend the Library procurement policy with a property disposal program that ensured proceeds of sales come back to the library.
  2. Set up a documented process for identifying excess or unused library property.
  3. Set up a program with PublicSurplus.com so sales occur on line, money is collected and fee’s taken prior to providing the buyer with a receipt. Payments are made on a monthly basis to the library. The buyer must provide proof of purchase when collecting the purchased items.
  4. The site provides public agencies with the tools to show and sell excess items that other agencies and the public might need. There are tools that can provide discounted pricing for sister agencies. With a centralized site for excess library equipment and furniture, the more libraries participate in the program and look there for items to purchase we can help each other recycle and reuse library specific items.


During the first six months of this program the library collected $6,238 in property disposal proceeds. The items range from wooden shelving, computers, printers, display cases, old neon signs, and even a wedding ring set found in one of our library parking lots. The rings were turned over to the local police and the staff tried to find the owner but after two years we decided to put them up for sale. A local jeweler donated time to provide appraisals and the set was sold to a couple celebrating their 30 years of marriage. The library that turned in the ring purchased a nice new display case with those funds.

We have even sold book stacks that were still standing in one of our libraries to make room for replacement furniture. By selling the 12’ metal shelving for $15.00 and having the buyers disassemble and remove it from the library, we achieved a cost avoidance of two people for two hours in labor fees as we don’t have the staff to do that kind of work in-house. The effort for this project is minimal; I take photos and post the items on the website in between projects and when time allows.