As New Yorkers, we know the value of shelf space. When you are ready to make some room on your shelves (for new books!), check out these organizations that accept book donations:
This homegrown Brooklyn-based organization provides free baby and toddler (to age 4) clothing, gear, books and other essential items to families living in poverty. They will pick-up for a $10 tax deductible fee (minimum of two or more large garbage sized-bags) or you can drop off at the warehouse located at 24 15th Street in Gowanus. More details available on the donations page.
Based in New York and Boston, this nonprofit enriches the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development. This is a great place to donate all your gently used books for kids up to three years old. You can drop off books (and other baby items) at their office 54 West 21st Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue) or arrange for a pickup for a tax deductible fee. More details are available in their donation page.
Although the website for this homeless shelter for women and children states that donated books must be new, I’ve heard that this isn’t always the case so, if interested, call and ask. (They also take baby clothes, toys and other items). More details.
Many people think of libraries when looking to unload their old books, but truth be told, your cast-off books are not always wanted. Donations cost staff time to process and are not always good additions to their collections. Here are the donation polices of NYC’s three library systems:
They have stopped accepting donations all together. You can donate books to Friends Groups of select branches. These groups hold periodic book sales to support BPL. They also hold the Great American Book Drive, hosted by Better World Books (an organization that sells and recycles donated books), annually in October at Central Library.
You are welcome to drop off your books (that are in good condition and not out-dated) at any Queens Library location during open hours. Contact the library supervisor at the location which you would like to donate the books if you have specific questions. More information is available in their FAQ.
Since 2009, this nonprofit has rescuing gently used, unwanted books in the New York Tri-State Area and distributing them to public service agencies like shelters, family crisis centers, head start programs, hospitals, and schools. Please refer to their donation criteria and contact them to arrange for pick up or drop off at their Queens Village home base.
Ok, so this is not necessary a good place to donate your Eric Carle collection, but if you have a lot of reference, history or other nonfiction paperbacks—this is a great option. Their website looks like it needs updating but apparently they collect donations at Freebird Bookstore in Brooklyn while they await for their new space in ABC No Rio’s. Find out more on their donation page.
This unique organization aims to make reading easier, more convenient and cost-free to New York City commuters through a mass-scale book-sharing program. They accept book donations at drop boxes (located at Whole Foods at Union Square, Bowery, and Columbus & 97th) and redistribute them outside subway stations every month. They accept most kinds of books: fiction, non fiction, text books, children’s as well as foreign titles.
You can always talk directly with your local school librarian or principal to see of they accept donations, but here’s another option. This site connect parents (or anyone else) with school librarians so they can contribute the books the library needs. Librarians add book requests which users can browse to donate books to any school on the site. Or match books you’d like to donate with a library that needs them. There are quite a few NYC schools listed already. Find out more on their Questions and Answers page.
Housing works is an advocacy group that works to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS. They operate several thrift stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as a bookstore/cafe to support their mission. Check their Drop-Off Donations page for locations and more details.
This national nonprofit helps individuals with disabilities gain independence through employment. And they’ve provided many a hipster with an “ironic” wardrobe. Enter your zip on their Donation Locator page to find a location in the tri-state area. (Here’s the national level Locator Link for those outside the tri-state).
Like Good Will, Salvation Army also runs a chain of city-wide thrift stores. Apparently they offer pick up service in addition to drop-off locations, but when I put in my zip code I got, “Online scheduling is not available for your area.” More info is available on their Donations page.