While we’d agree that there’s no such thing as having too many books, we’re all for cleaning out our collection every now and then (to make room for new favorites, of course). But don’t dump these classics into the recycling just yet. Here’s where you can give your beloved books a second (Or third! Or fourth!) life.
Schools: Once your little ones have moved on from picture books to novels, donate their old favorites to local schools or childcare centers. Just be sure they are still in usable condition (no pages ripped out, please!) and something you’d be comfortable giving to a friend.
Libraries: This may seem like a no-brainer, but before you donate any gently used reads to the library, consider contacting them first to see what they are looking for or currently accepting. Most local libraries also have Friends of the Library groups that host book sales which your donations can help support.
Second Hand Stores: Community thrift stores or local Goodwill and Salvation Army branches will often happily accept old and unwanted books. You’ll not only be sharing the gift of literacy, but also helping support local job training programs and social aid efforts.
NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY
Better World Books: With thousands of drop-off sites across the U.S. and the U.K., this e-retailer not only collects and sells gently used books, but also matches every book purchase with a donation to someone in need—over 26,400,000 donations to date. By teaming up with non-profit literacy partners, like Room to Read and the National Center for Families Learning, they continue to help fund literacy efforts worldwide, while also being eco-conscious (like offsetting carbon costs of shipping books!).
Reader to Reader Inc: Helping to provide free books to under-resourced communities, this charity works with libraries and over 600 schools across the country—see the complete list here— to help you help those most in need. Plus, programs like its Read, Think, Share student mentorship program and Family Literacy programs for immigrant parents help get learners of all ages excited about reading.
Kids Need to Read: Have like-new children’s books to get off your hands? The Arizona-based foundation will gladly collect them and pass them onto its many efforts to inspire, engage, and empower young readers. With literacy-powered events and programs nationwide, Kids Need the Read has helped provide over 320,500 books to nearly 400 schools, libraries, and literacy programs in every state to date.
FOR NEW BOOKS ONLY
For those dust-collecting duplicates sitting on your shelf to books you bought and just never got around to, various do-good organizations —like Project Night Night which helps create care-kits for homeless children and teens—will gladly collect any new reads. The Books for Kids Foundation also collects new children’s books to help promote literacy among children in at-risk and low-income communities through library-building, reading programs, and more.
FOR NON-TRADITIONAL DONATIONS
While most book-collecting organizations may accept a variety of books, many also tend to avoid items like magazines, textbooks, or encyclopedias. Instead, consider item-specific organizations like MagazineLiteracy.org, the first and only global magazine literacy campaign, or Textbook for Change which collects post-secondary textbooks and course packs to help campus libraries in East Africa. Have a hunch that your older books may even be rare (and valuable!)? Click here to read more about how to tell, and what to do.