9 Thoughtful Ways to Donate Your Used Books
When it comes to donating used books, look beyond your local library or thrift store; there are plenty of incredible organizations making a difference in the world through the power of books.
Send used books to deployed soldiers
A great way to honor and support our troops is to donate your used books to Books for Soldiers. This non-profit allows users to sign into a database and receive book requests from individual soldiers. Mail-call days are some of the most highly anticipated events for deployed soldiers, so you can really brighten a troop’s day with your literary gift. Since all military packages must be requested (due to legal regulations), Books for Soldiers is a great way to keep soldiers reading without compromising anyone’s safety. (Don’t miss these ways to read books online for free.)
Help prisoners get an education
Books for Prisoners is a non-profit student organization based at the University of California, San Diego. This incredible program donates books and resources to inmates from all over the country. Individual inmates write to the organization, often requesting specific books, dictionaries, and textbooks for their studies. Books for Prisoners, in turn, sends the requested materials in the hopes of furthering their education and helping to turn their lives around. Education is key to a better life for inmates, and you can help make their goals a reality by donating your used books.
Donate your children’s books to military parents overseas
United Through Reading (an organization supported by the Reader’s Digest Foundation) is another great nonprofit dedicated to the military, but this special organization benefits a soldier’s entire family. United Through Reading offers military service members the opportunity to record videos of themselves reading books to their children back home. These book-reading videos strengthen emotional connections for children who are physically separated from their deployed parents, and encourages child literacy. In a program survey, 81 percent of participants reported a decrease in their children’s anxiety about the deployment, and 83 percent of recordings were watched nearly every day or more often. If you donate your used children’s books to United Through Reading, you’ll genuinely help strengthen a family bond through the experience of reading aloud together. (Here are 45 secrets America’s troops wish you knew.)
Give them to the nation’s poorest communities
Reader to Reader‘s impact has been incredibly wide-reaching and impactful. This charity is dedicated to bringing books to under-resourced schools and public libraries across America. The program specifically benefits the nation’s poorest communities, from inner-city schools and Native American Reservations to impoverished, rural towns. Reader to Reader has donated over 2 million books to rebuild school libraries destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and other natural disasters like fires and tornadoes. By donating your books here, you’ll make a huge impact in America’s struggling cities.
Send them to homeless children
Pajama Program supports children in unstable and uncertain living situations. This New York-based nonprofit generously donates books and pajamas to kids living in shelters, group homes, and temporary housing facilities. In 2015 alone, Pajama Program met their goal of donating 1 million new pajamas and books to these children, who are often neglected, shuffled from home to home, and forced to sleep in ill-fitting or soiled pajamas. Nightfall is the most vulnerable time for these children, but by donating your books to Pajama Program, you can help kids feel safe, important, and loved. (Check out these children’s books that influenced these famous lives.)
Help support African schools and libraries
The mission of this organization is to end the book famine in Africa. Books For Africa creates a culture of literacy and provides tools of empowerment for students, parents, teachers, and community leaders in Africa. Books For Africa has shipped more than 36 million books to 49 African countries since 1988. When you donate used books to this organization, you’re helping mobilize communities eager to gain an education. As their website declares, “When the books arrive, they go to those who need them most: children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible.”
Connect literacy to children’s hospitals and pediatricians
This evidence-based program incorporates books into pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together. Reach Out and Read encourages doctors and nurses to speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud starting in infancy, making books almost a part of a child’s cognitive prescription. At each regular checkup from six months to five years of age, the child receives a new book to take home from their visit to the doctor. Reach Out and Read has benefited nearly 4.5 million children across the nation, and if you donate used books here, you too can help make literacy an essential component of all pediatric care. (Here are 11 reading habits to instill in young kids.)
Help Project Night Night send homeless children care packages
Project Night Night benefits at-risk, homeless children under the age of 12. Each year, this charity sends more than 25,000 “Night Night Packages” to homeless shelters across America. Each package contains children’s books, stuffed animals, and a security blanket, all wrapped in a canvas tote. The organization’s mission is to distribute these care packages to every homeless child in the country, promote education, and provide comfort for children in stressful and uncertain living conditions.
Let DonationTown place them in a good home
If you really aren’t sure where to donate books, DonationTown is a great resource for placing your books in a worthy home. DonationTown arranges free book pick-up and delivery, then sends your used books to nearby charities like the Humane Society, Hope Services, and Rescue Mission. Your donation can also go to a school, county library, prison library, or nursing home. Basically, DonationTown knows which local places are in need of books, and will take them off your hands to make sure they get there.