A straight line can be drawn from a person’s personal development to their habit of always reading books. This is because books illuminate a person’s imagination, help in the formation of unique perspectives, and provide in-depth knowledge on life, among many other things. For someone interested in reading, you will always find multiple shelves of books in their abode as they are frequently on the lookout to acquire the next book that would enrich their minds. Not many people who want to read can afford to buy books, hence they are also on the lookout for places where they can pick up books from people who donate their own.
With there being a growing need for places to donate books in recent times, we have compiled a list of the best 25 places where people can donate their books and know that they would find a lovely home where it would be enriching the life of someone who needs it.
25 Places Where You Can Donate Your Old Books
1. Local Libraries
Depending on what city you reside in, your local library, or at least one located in a low-income neighbourhood, will most likely be in dire need of books to fill up their shelves. Donating books to such places provides reading materials for thousands of children who would not have had access to such books.
There is, however, one thing or a few things you might consider doing before donating your books here. The first would be to call in advance and ask for the library’s specific needs so that you do not end up dumping irrelevant books at the location.
2. Schools and Daycare Centers
Instead of going through a third party to donate books to schools and daycare centres in your community, you can do so directly yourself, especially if the collection of books in your possession are those once used by your kids. Hopefully, these books are in pristine condition as they could go a long way in keeping the school’s library stocked.
3. Retirement Homes
Similar to your local libraries, retirement and assisted living homes around you are some of the places that will gladly take in your old books because they usually have libraries or group areas that are stocked with not just books but also board games and other entertainment options. Unfortunately, these places do not always have the funding to have an updated bookshelf, and so residents are left with no option but to read the same book repeatedly.
4. Local Theatres
Local theatres are perfect option if you have books that are worn-out and old since they will most likely not be accepted by the other places listed on this list. Theatres will, however, accept the books because they use them as props and backgrounds during plays and performances. Worn-out and damaged books are especially useful for creating scary backgrounds.
If you have old books but are in very good condition, museums can be willing to take them off your hands. The world’s largest museum library system – the Smithsonian libraries, which serve the Smithsonian Institution, are among those that welcome donations of books and other research materials. Depending on how good or valuable the books are, they can be displayed as exhibits in museums.
6. Waiting Areas
Places where people usually spend a long time waiting, like the train/bus station or the doctor’s office waiting room, often have magazines or books available for people to read as they wait for their departure time or appointment. These places are usually willing to accept book donations but it would be polite to ask first before taking your old books to these places.
7. Canines for Literacy and Other Literacy Dog Therapy Programs
Children often find it hard to learn how to read. They further find it stressful and intimidating to do so to adults. This prompted someone smarter than us all to come up with the idea of children reading to dogs, a move that has proven to be successful as children feel more comfortable and less judged by doing so. With the success of the program, a few dog shelters around the country have doubled as reading programs, as these interactions with kids have also helped shelter pets get ready for adoption by reducing their anxiety.
While children often come with their books, shelters often have a collection of animal-themed books that kids can read. If you happen to have some, such shelters in your area that have a similar program can turn out to be a good home for your donated books.
8. Cancer Research Shop
A cancer research shop is one of the best places you can donate your books. By donating your books, or even any other unwanted household items here, you will be turning your unwanted items into funding for vital life-saving research.
9. Prison Book Programs
With a strong belief in the life-changing power of literature, that books give people a chance to learn, grow, and explore the world, Prison Book Programs was founded with the sole purpose of sending books to people in prison.
The nonprofit organization has been successfully doing this since 1972 since most prisons only accept books from a bookstore, publisher, online retailer, or NGO and do not allow family and friends to send books into prisons. The libraries in prison further receive very little funding because most of the uneducated and largely illiterate population of correctional facilities regard reading materials as irrelevant. This makes the work of organizations like Prison Book programs very important.
10. Books Through Bars
Unlike Prison Book Programs, Books Through Bars specifically focuses on providing prisoners in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states with quality reading materials. The organization further encourages creative dialogue about the criminal justice system by sponsoring regular public events relating to different issues, including human rights, prison reform, and the war on drugs.
11. Appalachian Prison Book Project
By providing books and education to incarcerated people, the Appalachian Prison Book Project aims to battle mass incarceration. The project, however, heavily relies on book donations to carry out its core mission as well as host book clubs in prison facilities and publish incarcerated authors and artists.
12. Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is one of the many nonprofit organizations set up to support veterans across the country. The organization is, however, dedicated to Vietnam veterans and their families. VVA serves the needs of the veterans without any funding from the government. As a result, it accepts not just books but anything anyone is willing to donate. These items are later sold to private companies by annual bid, generating the majority of the funding to support all VVA programs nationwide.
The organization also operates a very convenient pickup service that can come to your home and collect your donations if you are unable to drop them off yourself.
13. Books for Soldiers
Books for Soldiers collects used books that have been kept in good conditions and send them to members of the U.S. military overseas for their morale, welfare, and recreation. The organization has been doing this since Operation Desert Storm and plans to continue doing so until all American military personnel are back home.
Oxfam is an international nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations aimed at the alleviation of global poverty. The group, which has an independent American affiliate, operates shops all over the world that sell donated items. They have done so since 1948, when their first charity shop opened. Proceeds from the sale of these items that could include your old books are used to further Oxfam’s mission around the globe.
15. The Salvation Army
There are not many more known providers of social aid around the world than the Salvation Army. Books, among other items, can be donated to the Christian church that also doubles as an international charitable organization. Proceeds from the sales of these items are used to fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers where people mostly suffering from addiction are able to find help.
Goodwill Industries International Inc., popularly referred to as only Goodwill, is an American nonprofit organization known to provide people who are unable to obtain a job with job training and employment placement services. To fund this, Goodwill accepts donations that include everything from clothing to small household appliances and books that are in good or new condition.
17. Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is another international nonprofit organization with Christian affiliations. The organization’s goal is to bring people together to build homes in local communities around the world. To help to fund this, Habitat has retail outlets called Habitat ReStores where they sell donated items, either new or used, including books and other household materials. Proceeds from ReStores help fund the construction of Habitat houses within the communities the stores exist.
18. Books for Africa
With the goal of ending the book famine in Africa, Books for Africa has become the largest shipper of donated books to the African continent. Since 1988, the nonprofit organization has collected, sorted, shipped, and distributed text and library books to students of all ages in all 55 countries in Africa. You can be assured that your books are going into the hands of those that need them as Books For Africa always meets the standards set by the Charities Review Council and has received the top rating of 4 stars from Charity Navigator.org.
19. Better World Books
Better World Books advertises itself as a socially responsible bookstore where cheap new & used books can be found at bargain prices. The American online bookseller, founded in 2002 by students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, collects and sells books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide. Better World Books has reportedly converted more than 250 million books into over $24 million in funding for literacy and education.
20. Kids Need to Read
Kids Need to Read describes itself as a nonprofit organization founded with a passion for improving the lives of disadvantaged children. It does this by providing inspiring book collections (books and magazines for reading levels that range from preschool to high school) to underfunded schools and libraries across the country. People looking to donate books to the program are to ensure that these books are in close to pristine conditions as they only collect new and like-new books that aren’t scribbled on or torn.
21. Reader to Reader
Reader to Reader is another nonprofit dedicated to fostering the love of reading in children, thereby increasing literacy. It does so by delivering books to under-resourced school libraries and public libraries in the poorest communities across the United States without any charges. Donated books are also used to restock libraries in places where natural disasters have destroyed collections.
22. African Library Project
This nonprofit partners with governmental and non-governmental organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to start libraries. They organize book drives in America and then raise funds to ship them to Africa, where their partners help in the distribution of the books to either a designated school or a community library.
BookMooch is different from all the other places on this list of places where you can donate books because instead of just giving away your old books, you can choose to exchange them for other books you have not read. The platform is an online book exchange community with a membership of over 74,000 and about 500,000 book titles.
24. Re-Book It
Available to book lovers in the Los Angeles area, Re-Book It is a free community pick-up service provided by The Last Bookstore. The ethos of the service is to ensure that books find new homes and are in the hands of readers instead of ending up in landfills. Books donated or even proceeds from donations are used to assist local libraries, charities, and schools as well as preserve The Last Bookstore, which sells books to book-lovers at affordable prices and serves as a gathering place for creatives.
25. Friends and Family
It goes without saying that the first people you should notify when you have decided to part away with personal belongings are either family and friends as the famous saying goes: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In regards to books, readers always have one or two people they know that also love to read. You can ask such people if they are interested in any of your old books before deciding to try any of the other options listed here. After they are done with the books, they can still be donated and be useful to some other people, keeping the literacy cycle going.
Why Should One Donate or Give Away Books?
It is not news to hear that there are many disadvantaged people in the world. While many do not know where their next meal would be coming from, others use the little they have to feed. With this, they can not afford to spend their little resources on otherwise frivolous things like books even though they have a huge interest in reading and understand its importance.
As a result of this, people looking to declutter their books collection can choose to donate them instead of throwing them away in the trash. This way, they get to play a significant part in bringing the joy of reading to millions of people who do not have access to books while also getting rid of things they no longer need. In the bigger picture, one could also say that they are doing something charitable by offering people the opportunity to improve their own lives without having to spend any money directly from their pockets.