Where Can I Donate Old Books? 19 Places to Share Those Great Reads

If you’re like most writers and authors, chances are you’ve got stacks of books piling up, silently judging you for the space they’re hogging. 

Before you consider building a book fort, why not pass those cherished reads on to new homes? 

We’ve got 19 fantastic spots where your old books can embark on fresh adventures. 

Dive in and discover where your literary treasures can find their next chapter (pun intended)!

19 Places Where You Can Donate Books

Ready to declutter and spread the joy of reading?

Check out these 19 amazing places where your beloved books can make a significant impact and find new readers eager to dive into their pages.

1. Local Libraries

Dive into your community hub! Many libraries love getting book donations to expand their collections or for their next sale. Just give your local library a ring or check their website to see what they’re looking for.

2. Thrift Stores

Places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are always on the lookout for book donations. Dropping your books here means they’ll find new homes, and the proceeds help fund important programs. Win-win!

3. Schools and Daycares

Educators and kiddos are always in need of fresh reading material. Schools, daycares, and after-school programs often welcome book donations to fuel young imaginations. Just make sure the books are appropriate for the age group!

4. Friends and Family

Don’t overlook the simplest way to share the joy of reading! Passing your beloved books onto friends and family not only clears your space but also strengthens bonds. It’s a personal way to recommend your favorites and spark engaging conversations.

5. Retirement Homes

Senior citizens adore diving into a good book! Retirement homes and assisted living facilities often have libraries for their residents. Your book donations can bring immense joy and a sense of adventure to their day.

6. Hospitals

Hospitals often have libraries or reading rooms for patients and their families. Donating your books can provide comfort and escape to those facing challenging times. Just check with the hospital’s guidelines first to see what types of books they accept.

7. Shelters

Shelters for individuals and families in crisis, such as homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters, often have small libraries or communal reading areas. Your donations can offer a source of solace and temporary escape for those in difficult situations.

8. Operation Paperback

This nonprofit collects gently used books and sends them to American troops overseas as well as veterans and military families here at home. Check out Operation Paperback to learn how you can contribute to their cause.

9. Books Through Bars

Help break the cycle of incarceration with the power of reading. Books Through Bars distributes books to incarcerated individuals, offering education, entertainment, and a lifeline to the outside world.

10. Better World Books

Drop your books in a Better World Books bin, and they’ll find new readers; plus, each donation supports literacy initiatives worldwide. It’s a hassle-free way to clear your shelves and do some good!

11. Local Schools

Teachers are always on the lookout for books to enhance their classroom libraries. Donating to local schools can directly impact students’ learning experiences and foster a love for reading.

12. Book Banks

Similar to food banks, book banks distribute books to underprivileged families and communities. They’re fantastic places to donate, ensuring your books help nurture literacy and learning in needy areas.

13. Freecycle

With Freecycle, you can post your books online and have them picked up by someone local who’s eager to read them. It’s a great way to recycle books within your community.

14. Little Free Libraries

These charming book exchanges are popping up in neighborhoods all over. Drop off your books at a Little Free Library near you, and who knows? You might find your next great read there, too!

15. Readers to Eaters

Focused on food literacy, Readers to Eaters promotes books that encourage healthy eating and understanding of where our food comes from. Donate your food-related books here to help spread the word on good nutrition.

16. Books for Africa

Help reduce the book famine in Africa by donating to Books for Africa. They accept all sorts of books, as long as they are in good condition, to stock African libraries and schools with much-needed resources.

17. Reader to Reader

Reader to Reader is dedicated to bringing books to under-resourced schools and public libraries across the nation. Donating your books here can help ignite a passion for reading in students from all walks of life, filling their shelves with much-needed literature.

18. The World Literacy Foundation

The World Literacy Foundation works tirelessly to ensure every child, regardless of their geographic location, has the opportunity to acquire literacy skills. Donating your books can contribute to global efforts in eradicating illiteracy and changing lives through the power of education.

19. Project Night Night

Catering to children in homeless shelters, Project Night Night packages your donated children’s books into comforting Night Night packages, complete with a blanket and a stuffed animal, to provide a more secure bedtime environment for kids in need.

You might also like: 11 of the Longest Books Series that Might Surprise You 

How Do You Decide Which Books to Donate?

When it’s time to declutter your shelves, deciding which books to part with can feel like choosing a favorite star in the sky—overwhelming! But fear not; here are some handy pointers to help you make those tough calls:

  • Reflect on Re-reads: Consider whether you’ll realistically dive back into each book. It might be ready for a new adventure if it’s been gathering dust since you first turned its pages.
  • Assess the Condition: Books that are in good shape are ideal for donation. Those with tattered covers or pages might be better suited for recycling.
  • Consider the Content: Books that inspired or brought you joy are perfect to pass on. Share that positive vibe!
  • Update Editions: If you’ve got multiple editions of the same title, consider keeping only your favorite and donating the rest.
  • Gift of Giving: Think about books as gifts. Would someone else enjoy this read? If so, it’s a great candidate for donation.

By following these guidelines, you can curate your collection and spread literary love at the same time.

How to Donate Books

Ready to pass on the gift of reading? Donating books is a heartfelt way to share your cherished stories and knowledge with others. Here’s how to get started:

1. Sort Your Books

Take a moment to go through your collection. Keep the ones that still spark joy and set aside those ready for a new home.

2. Check the Condition

Make sure the books you’re donating are in good shape. Gently used books are great, but heavily worn items might not be accepted.

3. Find a Donation Spot

Look up local libraries, thrift stores, or specialized organizations like Better World Books. Choose a place that resonates with your values.

4. Understand the Guidelines

Each place has its own set of rules about what they can accept. A quick visit to their website or a phone call can clarify.

5. Pack Them Up

Carefully box your books, considering size and weight for easy transportation. Label the boxes if you’re donating to multiple places.

6. Drop Them Off

Take your books to the chosen location. If it’s a larger donation, consider calling ahead to ensure they’re ready to receive your contribution.

By following these steps, you not only declutter your space but also enrich the lives of new readers with your donated books.

Does Better World Books Actually Donate Books?

You might wonder if Better World Books lives up to its name. The answer is a resounding yes! For every book purchased, they donate one to someone in need. Plus, they fund literacy initiatives globally. 

So, when you declutter through them, you’re not just clearing space; you’re joining a cycle of giving that spreads the joy and power of reading far and wide. Truly, your old books embark on noble new journeys!

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