Publication Date

November 20, 2006

Donate Your Books and Journals

Is your office or home filled up with books and journals that you have been contemplating for some time, while wondering what you should do with them? Before you consign them to a yard sale or the trash dumpster (yes, sometimes spring cleaning fever can have pretty dramatic symptoms—even for magpies or ardent bibliophiles who can’t part with anything that is printed and bound), think of the many libraries (and scholars) around the world for whom a copy of a recent book on European or American history, or a good run of the AHR, will be an enriching and useful addition to their collections.

All right, you may say, I am ready to give away my copies of the AHR and the JAH from the past five years, but how do I get them to the libraries or scholars abroad who need them? It is easy: just get in touch with one of the many organizations (mostly working pro bono as nonprofit entities) in the United States. Take, for example, Teachers Across Borders, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that is collecting reading materials that can support its educational work in Cambodia. Heidi Roupp, the director of Teachers Across Borders requests you to send what she calls “neglected treasures” to Jeff Broude, Librarian; University Library; California State University, DH; 1000 E. Victoria; Carson, CA 90747, as the gifts will be “joyfully received in Cambodian schools and universities.”

Listed below are some of the many other organizations that accept donations of books and periodicals (and please note that we are providing this information—culled from various sources—only for indicating possibilities and that the AHA is not making any recommendations):

  • Bridge to Asia seeks donations of books mostly for China and is particularly seeking art history books.
  • Books for International Goodwill, a program in Lothian, Maryland, supported mainly by the Parole Rotary Club of Annapolis, Maryland, will accept used books. BIG is also seeking volunteer help to sort books and to pack them for sending to various destinations.
  • The Asia Foundation is another agency that collects and distributes books and periodicals for use in more than 40 countries in Asia under its Books for Asia Program. While the foundation mostly expects donations from publishers, it also accepts gifts from individuals.
  • The Book Project of the World Bank Family Network, located in Washington DC, is a nonprofit organization “founded in 1982 for the purpose of shipping donated books to developing countries. Books are accepted from schools, public libraries, universities, and individual donors in the District of Columbia and neighboring states.

Some useful additional reference sources about book donation programs are:

  • The American Library Association fact sheet on book donations
  • The web site of the Sabre Foundation (“Humanitarian Aid for the Mind”)

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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