As the holiday season approaches, I often times find people asking for “unconventional gift ideas” or looking to donate to a charity. As librarians, it seems only natural to recommend literacy based ideas.
A few years ago, I had a family approach me stating that they wanted to donate books to the library in lieu of presents. I created a list for the family of books the library could use in our collection (that also fit the families interest) and they gave that to people looking for gift ideas.
My current library hosts a book drive in the community every year where they ask the community to donate new books for children from birth to age 18. They also invite staff to donate money for a staff donation. There are also options to collect books as a group and donate. All books and proceeds go to a local Adopt-a-Family program.
One could also donate books to a library in need, or libraries could ask for books to add to their collection. Book drives could be a good time to ask for donations in particular areas that are underrepresented in your library.
ALA offers a list of international organizations that accept books and has a resource guide about book donations. They also have a disclaimer which can be helpful to pass on:
Be aware however, that most organizations only accept new books or books in good condition-these are not places to “book dump” unwanted literature.
Does your library do any end-of- year book drives? How do the logistics work? Let us know in the comments.
This post was written on behalf of the ALSC Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee it addresses ALSC competency group V: Outreach and Advocacy.
I work with the Laundry Literacy Coalition, and we raise funds for books nationally. That way, we can ask parents and kids which titles they most like and tailor our book drive selections to meet the actual needs of the community. Something I’ve noted is that many parents in high poverty want decodables and non-fiction readers to hep their children learn to read. I prefer this approach after reading Dr. Susan Neuman’s work on geospatial tracking of books in Philadelphia and the role of asking parents/communities what they want to see.