Milwaukee Edition

Rebirthing Books

New Life for Old Friends

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Spread the wonders and joys of reading to others while conserving woodlands and other resources and keeping books out of landfills by donating them. Many outlets welcome books that may have been collecting dust at home, but can enrich the lives of others of all ages, both locally and worldwide.

• Many public libraries are supported by community volunteer “friends of” organizations that sell donated books at deep discounts to the public. Funds raised help underwrite host library programming.

• Along with selling new and used books online, BetterWorldBooks.com accepts book donations that support national and global literacy initiatives, including in Latin America and Africa. They recently forwarded 37,000 donated books to UK teachers and other educators, and also operate a senior book outreach program.

• Local chapters of national organizations like Girl Scouts, Kiwanis International, Rotary International and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs frequently collect gently used children’s books.

• Other donation sites include The Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift shops and used and antique bookstores.

BooksForSoldiers.com lists specific titles military members are requesting. BooksForAfrica.org has shipped 41 million books to Africa’s 54 countries. BooksThroughBars.org supplies prison libraries, while BooksToPrisoners.net links books donated by the public to requests.

• Include unwanted books when planning a yard sale.

• Consider the novelty of regifting books. With the Christmas gifting season approaching, parents can bestow a Shakespeare play or Mark Twain tale that meant so much to them decades ago to their kids—including a card explaining its poignancy and significance. The gesture can even spark a greater interest in reading.


This article appears in the November 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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