As a book lover, it’s tough to unhaul and declutter books. But when your bookshelves are spilling, and dust invades every corner of your home library, you must set yourself up for this challenging task. Most of us coming from a humble background are aware of the act of swapping, sourcing, and giving away books from our childhood. I have seen many of my neighbors sourcing academic books for their children from other families in the neighborhood in my childhood.
Every year after getting promoted to the following standard, many students looked for second academic books as new books were expensive and continue to be so. Parents made sure to donate their kid’s books to someone in need. So, as Indians, the concept of donating and swapping books is very typical and considered a noble act. And this is not only limited to academic books but all kinds of books in general.
How/Where To Donate Your Books?
However, as bibliophiles, it isn’t easy to part ways with your books. Building a home library is almost every bookworm’s dream, but at times it gets rather tricky to do so. If you are moving to a new city or changing homes too often – maintaining a heavy book collection can be daunting. Books are pretty high maintenance and require massive care. A busy schedule may not allow you to clean your bookshelves every day. Thus, decluttering is the only way out.
The best way to declutter your bookshelf is by donating your books to people and places where they will find a new home. The books that you didn’t enjoy may end up becoming someone else’s favorite. Not only fiction books but donating your academic books may help someone get through their education as well. So, if you are considering donating your books, you have arrived at the right place. Here are some beautiful options that you can explore to donate your books.
1. Local Libraries
My first ever experience of donating books was with a local library. The area where I live has this small community library established by the collective endeavor of the board members of our cooperative society. A lot of cooperative societies run such local community libraries. I have a personal connection with such libraries because that’s where I donated some of my books for the first time. The best part about donating books to your local library is, you can easily access them whenever you want to.
The library can issue it to you as a member, so you don’t have to ultimately part ways with your books. This is especially useful with academic books that you don’t need currently but may need to refer to in the future. Also, if you have never donated your books before – as was the case for me – donating books to your local community libraries is the best way to get started. This way, you won’t feel separation anxiety regarding your books the first time you donate books.
2. Online Groups and Book Clubs
When looking for recommendations or discussions around books, I always find my way into online book communities on Facebook and Instagram. As an introverted book lover, I have made friends with so many fellow bibliophiles through these online book communities, and I am so grateful. These online groups and book clubs are also a great way to connect with people for donating books. I have been a part of the BookWritten group on Facebook for over two years now.
Whenever bibliophiles have any query regarding books, they can quickly post in the group, and fellow group members come to their rescue. You can start discussions around books and authors. You can ask for recommendations, share your current read, create polls. In the same way, if you want to unhaul and donate your books, you can share a post in the group. You may add some pictures of the books you want to donate and connect with other bookworms. I think it’s such a great way to give back to your community and create a better world for all readers.
3. Old Age/Retirement Homes
Isn’t it a dream to retire from your job one day and spend all your time reading books? Well, that’s pretty much my retirement plan for sure. However, not every retired individual can afford to purchase books, given their limited income and massive health care expenses. Thus, donating books to old age/retirement homes is a beautiful way of contributing to the community without burning a hole in your pocket. The books collecting dust in your home will be savored by someone who does not have the fortune to buy new books. You can search for old age/retirement homes near your area and contact them to know if they accept such donations.
All of us know the importance of books for a child’s overall development. Books give wings to a child’s imagination, and they grow so much with every book that they read. However, most orphanages in India suffer from a shortage of funds. Fund shortage restricts orphanages from providing books for the kids. Most kids don’t even get good academic books. Donating books to an orphanage is one of the noblest causes ever. A lot of non-profit organizations work in collaboration with orphanages as well. You can contact such NGOs around your area and donate your academic and literary books for underprivileged children.
5. Online Book Donation Pages and Websites
Internet is filled with resources and leads for those looking for them. Several websites run campaigns to procure used books. Other than websites, there are also Instagram pages that accept such donations. You can also sell your books to certain online second-hand bookstores. It’s one of the easiest ways to declutter your bookshelf quickly.
6. Local Schools
Many public and even private-run schools accept book donations. They keep looking for such contributors as a library is an essential part of a school. The more extensive the library, the better it is for the children studying there. However, most public schools cannot afford to expand their libraries as books are costly and their budgets extremely small. I remember the school from where I completed my higher secondary education used to accept book donations.
They managed to build quite a decent-sized library for their students with the help of donations. Even though I was not an avid reader back then, I still used to linger near bookshelves and read books like David Copperfield and The Wizard of Oz. Once, our school received a vast book donation, including the Harry Potter books and the Goosebumps series. It made all of us ecstatic. Donating books to schools is a great way to give back to society. You can also contact your school to figure if they are accepting book donations or not. Most schools welcome such contributions.
7. Thrift Stores
Shopping from thrift stores is terrific because the revenue is contributed to charitable purposes. Most thrift stores sell clothes, but you will find thrift stores selling books too. It’s usually hard to find physical thrift stores these days as it’s hard for such stores to rent an actual place. However, social media has built an excellent platform for such endeavors. You will find many thrift store websites and several thrift stores on Instagram as well. You can quickly send them a DM and ask how you can contribute and donate your books. Most of these thrift stores also have pick-up facilities, so all you have to do is, declutter your bookshelf, pack the books you want to give away, and wait for the personnel to arrive to pick up the package.
8. Cultural Organizations
Most culturally rich regional cities and towns have several cultural organizations and clubs where people indulge in literature, theatre, poetry slam, exhibitions, art fairs, book fairs, etc. Many such cultural organizations across West Bengal organize cultural programs. These cultural organizations also accept book donations as most of them run small libraries in their clubs. These organizations play an essential role in keeping the culture alive and relevant. They also organize programs for the tribal communities and support causes safeguarding indigenous people. These cultural organizations appreciate regional books in donations as they help them to sustain their endeavors.
9. Reader to Reader
A reader giving away books to another reader is one of the easiest ways to unhaul and donate your books. You can donate your books to your househelp’s children. Especially if you want to donate academic texts, this is a beautiful way to make the most out of them. You can also contact your neighbors and donate your book to their househelp’s children too. This is a beautiful way to start a book donation campaign in your area. Other than this, you can also give away or swap books with your friends.
The fact that you are looking for options to donate your books already says a lot about you. Donating books is a noble act. It helps society to develop by allowing underprivileged people access to knowledge and wisdom. Let us know in the comments if you have ever donated books before. Also, feel free to share your story with other fellow members of the BookWritten group on Facebook.
Sneha Banerjee has been writing for half a decade now. She is also a professional copywriter and has worked for many businesses. She is a voracious reader, and her ultimate dream is to turn everyone into a reader.