So, now’s the time of year when it’s (reasonably) socially acceptable to clear your throat and nod sideways at the charitable causes you feel other people should be giving money, goods, and/or time to.
And while I’m not much of a spare-change collector, I am going to point out a few good uses you can put your extra books to. Because, let’s be honest… we all believe the right book at the right time can change someone’s life forever.
- Prison Libraries I’m starting with this one because it’s something that doesn’t automatically jump to mind, and because one of my first jobs after college was teaching in a prison. I spent a lot of hours in what might be the sparse-est library I’ve ever seen in my life. I know there are more deserving recipients, but it’s hard to imagine a charity with a more immediate effect.
- Domestic Violence Shelters Books for both adults and children who are going through tough times. I’m not going to call what I saw here a “library,” even. There was a shelf. It had a few books on it.
- Homeless Shelters I think we’ve all read about how much difference owning even one book can have on a child’s life.
- School Libraries
- Public Libraries
- And Little Free Libraries You know… like the boxes you build in your own front yard. Might lead to getting to know the neighbors, but just the ones who like to read
I’m sure there are others. You can find charities to ship them to developing countries, or charities that will support x, y, or z cause using the money from their sale.
I’m not mentioning any specific charities by name, because I don’t have the time to do due-diligence, and because I think local is the way to go. Build the book community you’re in.