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Ownership of Library Books

To whom does the money in the library belong? I run the Telshestone English library.I can give you fuller details if you need them.The library is 13 years old, housed in the Payis Center in Telshestone.
There has been a library in T, in private houses, for 30 years and I have those books and books that I have purchased with money I have raised.There are approx 5000 books in the library.
The Moatza give a grant of approx 14.29 per cent of the library budget and the rest is raised by subscriptions, fines, donations and the sale of items donated by anyone in the Kiryah and purchased by readers and non readers.Donors are delighted that they don’t have to throw good items away. I don’t think that every non reader donor thinks about what happens to the money.
The library is not an amutah and has no legal status.
When the time comes for me to stop running the library, to whom does the money in hand belong?
I can give you much fuller details if you indicate what information you require.


The money belongs to “the community” — it is “communal property,” belonging to all members of the community collectively.

This is similar to the status of town property: If a person donates something to the “city of Jerusalem,” or if the city raises money with taxes, the money belongs to “the city.”

See, for instance, the Mishnah in Bava Basra 99b, where we find the concept of something belonging to the community, and Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 377) and Sema (1), and see also Tur (Choshen Mishpat 417).

For a lengthy exposition on the subject, see Shut Yerushas Hapleitah (no. 37); see also Kovetz Shiurim (Bava Basra 404).

Best wishes.


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