For a Good Cause: Donating Books

When we relocated last year, I made a bold move.

Instead of moving all my old books, I decided to take a photo of every book and then I packed them up for donation.

For hardcore book lovers, I know it sounds crazy, but it was incredibly liberating. I’m definitely a bookworm, and I now have a lasting memory of books I’ve read without sacrificing the space. Plus books are a major dust magnet and hard to clean! I reference the photos when I want to go back and read something again. Of course, this decision was made easier, because I switched to the Kindle several years ago (best idea ever) so it’s not likely that I’d want to read a hard copy anyway.

When going through this process, I wish I’d known about these organizations that are putting used books to good use.

Operation Paperback 
This non-profit organization collects gently used books nationwide and sends them to American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families here at home. It’s really simple: register as a volunteer shipper, and you ship your own books using the addresses that the organization provides. They feature a detailed FAQ on their website that includes tips for how to ship the books most cost effectively.

Books for America
Founded in 2002, their mission is to promote literacy, life-long learning and understanding by distributing donated new and used books and other forms of educational media to disadvantaged organizations and schools. Items you wish to donate could also be shipped directly to their Used Book Store in Washington, DC or to their Book Sorting Facility in Fairfax, VA. If you are in the Washington, DC metro area, you are in luck! They will pick-up from you directly, and they have book donation bins across the area.

The other option is to take books to a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you. If you’re in New York City, all Housing Works take book donations and many are directed to their bookstore cafe downtown. Proceeds from sales at Housing Works go to support programs for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

All worthy causes and a fantastic way to declutter and help others.

Image Credit: Better Homes and Gardens