Looking to declutter your bookshelves and make room for some new arrivals? If you don’t want to do a giveaway on your blog or social media, consider donating some of your books to readers in need.
These suggestions are a bit US-focused because that’s what we’re familiar with at Pages Unbound, but if you have recommendations for donating books in other countries, please let us know in the comments!
(And, remember, most of these places are looking for newish books in reasonable conditions. If you donate a paperback with the cover ripped off, a hardcover growing mold, a set of encyclopedias, or your 20-year old collection of National Geographic, these things are probably just going to end up recycled or in the trash. Donate the type of book you would be interested in acquiring!)
Your Local Library
Libraries often accept book donations for use in their book sales or even as prizes for summer reading or other programs. You can likely also donate ARCs here. If the library decides they have too many books, they’re in horrible condition, or they’re just not selling at the book sales, they may recycle the books or donate them somewhere else themselves. Check with your local library for their policies.
Anyone around the world is welcome to build their own Little Free Library (though you should look into your local zoning ordinances before erecting something permanent in your yard). If you don’t have your own, you can check the Little Free Library website to find one close to you where you can leave your books and maybe pick up some new ones.
A Local School
If you know any teachers or school librarians, check if they’re interested in acquiring any classics or children’s books for their class or school libraries. If you don’t have personal connections, you can also try emailing or calling the school directly to inquire if they accept book donations.
Your College or University
Many colleges have a shelf or table somewhere on campus, frequently run by the English department or library, where students and faculty can leave free books for others to take and enjoy. Often this means people’s assigned reading gets donated, but there’s nothing stopping you from donating from your personal library.
Prisons, Women’s Shelters, and Homeless Shelters
Many of these places are often on the lookout for donated books in decent condition. However, they may also have specific books they want to acquire and may not take random donations. Check with your local organizations to see what types of books they may want.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Hospitals and nursing homes may also be looking for books for their patients and residents to read. You can call up the ones in your area to see if they are accepting donations.
The Salvation Army/Goodwill/Local Thrift Stores
Donating to these places can help make books more affordable to local citizens. Check the organizations’ websites for locations and policies.
There are also organizations where you can ship your books to benefit various causes. Check out Read Brightly’s list here, and, of course, always research a charity before donating to it.