Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs
ALA Library Fact Sheet 12
Please be aware that the American Library Association does not accept or distribute donations of books or any other materials. Organizations that do collect books, for distribution either within or outside the United States, are listed below. Do not hesitate to contact these groups directly to find out their needs.
BOOK DONATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
Most public libraries in the United States accept gift books with the proviso that the library is free to decide whether to keep the book in the library's collection, put it in a book sale to raise funds for the library, or discard it. Persons seeking to donate books to libraries are encouraged to call their local library and ask about donating books to it.
We also suggest contacting your state library. Your local public library or an academic library in your area can supply you with addresses and telephone numbers for your state library. Or see the State Library Web Sites web page compiled by the state of Wisconsin.
There are private groups that distribute book donations -- but only distribute new books; donations of old books are not accepted -- within the United States, including the following:
Books for Kids Foundation
225 West 35th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10001
Web Site: http://www.booksforkidsfoundation.org
Further Contact Information
For publishers only:First Book National Book Bank
1319 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1155
Phone: 1-866-READ-NOW (866-732-3669)
BOOK DONATIONS TO COUNTRIES OVERSEAS
There are several organizations that distribute books to other countries. Many of these organizations distribute books overseas at no cost to the donating person or library other than shipping costs to the U.S. facility.
Publishers interested in donating books may also want to consult American Donated Books Abroad: The Publisher's Guide To Tax Deduction, by Donald E. McNeil (Washington, DC: American International Book Development Council, 1989).
For listings of organizations that coordinate donations, please consult the following websites:
- ALA's International Relations Office Book Donation Programs and its guide on the International Donation and Shipment of Books
- Directory of Book Donation Organizations page at the Sabre Foundation
- Directory of Book Donation Programs, a list compiled under the leadership of the African Studies Association/Africana Studies Librarians Book Donation Committee
- Donation Programs For Books, Journals and Media, a list compiled by the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Health Sciences Library
Most important is to contact the groups listed beforehand, to find out what kind of books they need and are hoping to receive for distribution.
Finally, if it is used paperback books you are seeking to donate, consider sending them to U.S. troops stationed overseas. Details for two such programs are available on their web sites:
Web Site: http://operationpaperback.usmilitarysupport.org
Contact page: http://operationpaperback.usmilitarysupport.org/contact.htm
For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.