Where to Donate Used Books in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge against cityscape

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Brooklyn is a literary city, and many Brooklyn brownstones have full bookshelves lining the walls. If you want to make some room for new books, you can donate some of those well-loved volumes for others to read and cherish. (If you want to sell your books, look instead for used bookstores across the New York City area.)

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Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY

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Although the Brooklyn Public Library doesn't take donations for its collection, you can donate to specific book sales to benefit the libraries. Pick a local branch and locate a "Friends of" group for that branch and then find out the donation date for its upcoming book sale. 

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Housing Works Thrift Shops

A general view of second hand clothing inside the 'Dressed' pre-opening party at the Housing Works Thrift Shops

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You can drop books off at the Brooklyn (or other) Housing Works stores during their business hours. If you want a tax deduction of over $500, they recommend you itemize your donation. All books except encyclopedias, text, and of course books are accepted.

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A Goodwill Store

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If you're looking for an easy solution, drop your unwanted books off at a Brooklyn Goodwill location. You can combine this trip with other stuff you want to donate to charity.

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Salvation Army

A Salvation Army bell ringer outside Macy's during The Holidays, New York City

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Like Goodwill, dropping books off at a Salvation Army in Brooklyn is one of the easiest ways to donate books. 

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NYC Books Through Bars

Women's Reintegration Center prepares inmates for life after prison

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You can donate paperbacks to prisoners through a national program that's based in Manhattan. Books Through Bars, spurred in New York City by ABC No Rio, the progressive community-based organization on Manhattan's Lower East Side, is an all-volunteer collective that helps prisoners nationwide get reading materials.

Volunteers painstakingly match requests that prisoners have sent by mail to the books that have been donated and then mail book packages directly to imprisoned individuals, not to the prison libraries.

They take book donations to Freebird Books in Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. You should check the website or call to make sure volunteers will be there when you want to drop off your books.

Books Through Bars only accepts certain kinds of books, so check the list before you donate.

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Book Crossing

collection of books randomly positioned

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This organization likes to think of itself as "the world's library," where social networking meets books, anonymously, and then readers meet readers, somewhat randomly. Basically, through BookCrossing, books travel from stranger to stranger, reader to reader.

A given book's journey can be tracked (like a UPS parcel), thereby connecting its readers. If you love social media—if you've dreamed of sending a bottle with a message in it out onto the high seas and then meeting the person who finds your message—this may be the book donation program for you. However, it's labor-intensive. The group's mission is to connect people through books.

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