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How to Donate Books to a Library

Updated on October 27, 2015
Libraries are always on the look-out for book donations in good condition
Libraries are always on the look-out for book donations in good condition | Source

Libraries are having hard times with the economic recession upon us. They need to carry books of varied subjects in order to stay relevant to their communities. However, due to budget constraints, libraries are not always able to purchase the kind of books that would serve their visitors. Books that deteriorate are not always replaced. Books that cost a lot may not be purchased at all.

You on the other hand, have so many books you have a room dedicated to them. Perhaps many were purchased for your book club. Your children are long gone, but not the hundreds of books they left from childhood to high school before they went to college. You don’t want to throw them away. Trying to sell them for a yard sale or flea market is just too much trouble. Here is where you can provide a mutual service while contributing to your community.

Call your local library and speak with the branch manager. Ask him or her if and what kinds of books are needed. Don’t just show up with a box of books. Find out if they need any specific books. They may already have ten copies each of every book written by Shakespeare or Hemingway. I have been to libraries where they have so many books, that they warehouse them in the basement. Once a month they have a used book sale. If you want to donate books to a place that really needs books, this library may not be the one to donate your books.

Here are ways to successfully donate your used or new books:

  • Go over your books before you donate them. Are they in decent shape?
  • Find out if there are any books that are banned from the library;
  • Do they have a list of books they need?
  • Are there any age limits to book donations? Are the books you have considered obsolete for the branch?
  • No dog eared books, moldy, or yellowed pages;
  • No books that have clearly seen its day come and go. Must be relatively new, not used to death;
  • No scissor cuts on pages;
  • No highlighted pages;
  • Must have a good cover. If the cover has been removed, they can’t use it;

If you still have books in your house after donating to several libraries, donate the rest to places like your church, Salvation Army, senior citizen apartments, community centers, veterans groups, shelters for battered women, Morgan Memorial, homes for single mothers, public schools, and even jails and prisons.

Libraries aren’t too keen on receiving text books. Ask if they accept other items such as CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, or computer software. Text books are easy to sell on or, as many are too expensive for students to purchase new.

Make sure you get a receipt for your donation. Determine what you think is the value of your books before taking them to the library. Charitable donations are income tax deductible.

Have a happy time going through your books and getting them out of your house. Finally, enjoy your feeling of community belonging when you donate good books to people who need them.


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    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 5 years ago from Boston

      Please call. One would be surprised how much your local branch library would appreciate books.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida


      Your hub is great for many people who have a book over flow. My aunt gets her books when the local library has a sale.

      I have books that I read over and over andI have sold many in yard sales for a worthy cause.

      However, I will call my local library and see what they need.

      Thanks for the most helpful hub.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 6 years ago from Boston

      Exactly, Thranax. People with books all over their house should donate them where they are really needed. Students and book club readers who can't afford to buy a book could use them.

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 6 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Very important point. I know I use my public library and some of there tech books are really dated. I would love to see a book in there on Photoshop CS5 but I will be lucky if they even have CS3!! There is a real problem when a public library cant supply the books the town wants to read. Sure, if requested they often can pull them and ship them from Boston or other library that might have them, but this takes a long time to complete, almost a whole month waiting sometimes!

      I really hope people think about donating newer books, as they will actuality be read by people who need/want them - and not just sit on a used book shelf for months on end.