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Bookshelves Overflowing? Here Are Some Places to Donate Your Books

Woman loading books into a box to take for donation.
George Rudy/Shutterstock

Whether you’re spring cleaning or downsizing, when you have books to let go of, there are plenty of great options besides thrift stores. Instead of overstocking the local resale shops, consider these ideas instead.

Local Options

If you want to keep your books local, or you don’t want to have to pack them up and take them to the post office for shipping, there are some options. Make sure that you call these places beforehand to make sure they’re currently accepting used book donations and if they have any preferences (such as books with no writing or highlighting in them).

  • Libraries – If your library has a used book section or a Friends of the Library society, they’ll likely be looking for used book donations. Many libraries have a  “Friends of the Library” group that run a book store and/or host yearly book sales to raise money for the library.
  • Retirement Homes – Retirement homes and even nursing homes may be great places to drop off books you’re no longer in need of.
  • Your Friends and Family – If you have friends or family members that like to read and might be interested in the books you’re letting go of, ask around. If you want new books to read, consider hosting a book swap with some friends.

For Kids

If you have children’s books that are in good shape, there are some great charities to donate to.

  • Kids Need to Read – Kids Need to Read supports libraries, literacy programs, and underfunded schools. Visit their donation page to find out what they’re looking for and how to donate.
  • Reader to Reader – This organization serves underserved and vulnerable communities, including donating books to schools in at-risk areas. You can learn more about the program and see if there is a local donation site here.

For the Military

While there are all sorts of great organizations that send care packages to soldiers, this one specializes specifically in books:

  • Books for Soldiers – Books for Soldiers allows you to sign up and see requests directly from soldiers. Not only is this a good outlet for decreasing your book collections, but soldiers sometimes ask for DVDs and CDs as well. You mail the items right to the soldiers.

For Prisoners

Inmates have a lot of free time on their hands. There are some organizations in place to help prisoners get books so they can stay entertained and even learn new things while incarcerated.

  • Prison Book Program – For more information on the types of books Prison Book Program looks for, and the rules of donation, you can check out their website.
  • Books Through Bars – Most prisons do not accept hardcover books. You can check the site for Books Through Bars for other stipulations and what they look for in donations.
Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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