Our book donation philosophy…
We believe in a collaborative approach to book donation. This means that our partner libraries identify the type of books they need locally and Libraries Without Borders responds by meeting these needs. For example, a community public library in Yaoundé, Cameroon, might be interested mainly in children’s literature in French, but a university library in Port-au-Prince might need academic journals in the natural sciences in both French and English. Each project is different.
To fill the shelves of these libraries and others around the world, we take book donations from individuals, publishers, universities, and corporations. Our staff and volunteers in the United States and France organize the donated collections so that they are ready to be shipped to our project and partner libraries on request.
Our collaborative approach also acknowledges the existence of local book economies (booksellers or local publishers) that could be damaged by the careless delivery of large quantities of books. By working hand-in-hand with our partner libraries, Libraries Without Borders aims to foster not only access to knowledge, but also local cultural economies and intercultural understanding.
How do I donate books?
If you are interested in donating books, please fill out our Book Donation Form and we’ll get back to you. Please email Anthony Chase or Chelsea Stieber, our English-language collection managers, if you have any questions. Individuals donating from North America should mail their books to our storage facility in Brooklyn and individuals donating from Europe should mail their books to our storage facility in Paris.
Before filling out the form or emailing us, please review our book donation guidelines (below) for information about types of books we can and cannot accept and our current book needs. Thank you for your interest in donating books to LWB!
Upon receiving the books, Libraries Without Borders will send you an itemized receipt electronically by email or in hardcopy through the U.S. Postal Service of the books received and their market value for your tax purposes. If you have any questions, please contact us directly.
What Types of Books Do We Need?
LWB is collecting primarily English-language and French-language books at this time, but will also accept Spanish-, Portuguese-, Vietnamese-, and Mandarin-language books.
At this time, we are not accepting donations of the following types of books:
- Explicitly religious texts of any faith
- Cookbooks and cuisine-focused periodicals
- Interior design books and periodicals
- Travel guides
There are a number of organizations that accept these types of books. Please consider visting the American Library Association’s resource page on “Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs” for more information and links to these organizations.
A word about quality…
At Libraries Without Borders, we are committed to providing communities in the developing world with libraries that are comparative in quality to public and university libraries in Europe and North America. We pay very close attention to the quality and relevance of books before shipping them to our project libraries. Because of this, we ask that all book donations are
- In good condition; not marked, missing pages, or otherwise damaged
- Published recently
- Within 10 years for reference works
- Within 5 years for scholarly journals and university-level texts
- Within 3 years for periodicals
We are looking for quality copies of the following types of books:
- Works of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults, especially classic works
- University-level texts (published within the past 5 years) in the following disciplines:
- Reference materials (published within the past 10 years)
- Scholarly journals (published within the past 5 years)
- Quality periodicals covering international topics (published within the past 3 years)
- Such as National Geographic, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, ArtForum, and the Economist
If you have any questions about our book donation standards or procedures, please contact us directly.