How to Donate Books to Libraries

Donating books to a library is a great way to give back to society, and help spread the joy of reading. However, the task needs to be carried out with care, as certain libraries have specific guidelines about the books they can and cannot accept. For example, a children’s orphanage library will only accept books that are appropriate for kids, and so on. Even if a specific library does not accept your books, they will most certainly put you in touch with someone who could use them.


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    Start by calling up the library you are aiming to donate your books to – keep in mind that your donation can also include audio and visual materials. This way you can make your intent known, and inquire about any rules or guidelines that might be in place for the book donation process. While these guidelines can also often be found online on the library’s official website, it is best to call them up and check, in case the website has not been updated for a while.

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    Once you have gotten a clear idea about the guidelines the library has for book donation, you can begin to assess your own books, and determine whether they meet the criteria laid out by the library. General rules for book donation include that the books in question should not be more than 10 years old, be in good condition, have no pages that have been torn out or are missing, and should have content that is relevant to the material and collection the library houses.

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    Donating books to the library can also be done in the memory of a loved one, or in honour of a family member’s significant achievement. For example, if your grandfather, an avid anthropologist, has recently passed away, you could donate his extensive collection of anthropology books to the library. Often, libraries will also create a commemorative bookplate for such collections.

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    Another great way to donate is to check if the library has a wish list of books – if you have any of the books the library currently wants, you can make a valuable donation. If you wish to donate but currently possess no books that you can give away, you can even purchase the books the library needs, or just donate the money required for their purchase.

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    Once you have gathered all your books, pack them up securely in cardboard boxes sealed with tape, and take them over to the library. Once you let the librarian know what you are there for, she/he will be more than happy to guide you and take it from there.

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