12 Places to Donate Gently Used Books

Like many Apartment Therapy readers, I love books. I find myself clicking on book-themed posts, drooling over stylish libraries, and stocking up on design classics. But library card or not, for many book lovers, eventually the piles add up and it's time to donate a few.

I know many people want to donate books or have a pile set aside, but aren't sure where to begin. Even if you're hoping to sell your used books, you might find yourself with a stack the store didn't want. Of course, any books you hope to donate need to be in good condition — no one wants to read a musty, moldy book or one with missing pages. You should also call ahead to check the type of books accepted and to make sure their needs match what you hope to donate.

Here are 12 places to consider when your book collection gets unwieldy:

General Locations

  • Homeless Shelters: Local homeless shelters are often in need of donated books. Women's shelters especially need children's books.
  • Prisons: Prisons often seek books for literacy programs and for the prison library.
  • Libraries: Libraries across the country are in need of gently used books. Many make it easy to donate by holding frequent book drives. For example,
  • Friends of the San Francisco Public Library's well-organized program helps them reuse 600,000 books a year.
  • Goodwill/Salvation Army/Thrift Stores: Check to see what your local Goodwill accepts and then bring the books along with other home goods you're donating.

    City-Specific Locations

  • Boston: The for-profit book reuse organization Got Books? sends books to troops and teachers, and also helps raise money for local nonprofits.
  • Chicago: Open Books, whose wonderful, well-stocked bookstore benefits their award-winning nonprofit literacy programs.
  • Los Angeles: Books for People gathers books to benefit charities for local homeless children and to raise funds for local libraries.
  • New York: Three times a week, the volunteers at NYC's Books Through Bars matches book donations to the requests sent in from prisoners across the country.
  • San Francisco: Project Night-Night collects children's books to put in care packages for homeless youth from birth to pre-teen.
  • Washington DC: Books for America collects books to benefit locations around the city, including schools, shelters, and prisons.
  • Nationwide & International Donations

  • Books for Soldiers: You need to register for the site, but once you do, you can help out the troops by sending soldiers specific books they hope to read, which they can request through the website.
  • Book4Cause: Many of the donations from Book4Causes' drives and donation campaigns go to Africa to support the Good Books for Africa program.
  • Image:Bookshelf Porn via previous Apartment Therapy post

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    Kathleen is a freelance editor who lives in Chicago. She loves eclectic rooms, traveling with her family, and feeding anyone who steps foot in her house. She theoretically hates clutter, but can’t stop buying books and craft supplies.

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