Good news all you would-be spring cleaners!

That extra push you needed to start clearing all the winter debris from your house (otherwise known as spring cleaning) is here, even though it in no way resembles spring outside (yet, the blogger added hopefully). National RETURN BORROWED BOOKS week is the perfect time to gather up the books piled up around the house and return them to your friend, your father-in-law, your LIBRARY, wherever.

Image result for return borrowed books week

There is no time like the present!

So… You know… Gather ’em up. And if, in your gathering, you happen to find a whole bunch of books in your house that helped to get you through the winter but that you no longer need or want you can bring those to the library as well. Donations are always welcome!


The great Marie Kondo War on Books seems to be simmering down. While some book lovers have moved all their books into a steel and concrete safe room just in case Marie Kondo kicks down their door to seize their most beloved books from their hands and throw them into her flaming wood chipper, many more people agree with herexceedingly gentle actual approach.

Thousands of people now have boxes of books that have served their purpose or were never wanted in the first place and are wondering what’s next. While Rioter Abby has some great ideas for what to do with those books, you may find you want them out of your house ASAP. The best and fastest way to do this is to donate them. I’m an avid reader, an author, and a library employee, so I say this from the bottom of my bibliophile heart:

Some books don’t deserve to be donated.

I chatted with the manager of my library’s used bookstore to find out what kinds of donations are more a burden than a gift. Our books store is sizable and moves quite a bit of inventory, but there are still books they can’t sell. Keep in mind that these items will change depending on the organizations needs and resources, so check with your intended beneficiary before proceeding.

Obsolete nonfiction books are the biggest culprit. This includes guides for software no longer in use, cookbooks relying on old technology (think 1970s microwave cookbooks), out-of-date information, disproved theories, out-of-use textbooks, and encyclopedias.

Books that are damaged in any way: water stains, mold, tears, or marks on the pages. If there is any chance your books might have bed bugs, please don’t bring those near the library — those little creatures can infect everything else in the building! Books with strong smells, like those kept in the house with a cigarette smoker or smelly animals, will be disposed of before they can transfer their odor to nearby books.

Fiction books that everyone has too many of. These books are a victim of their own popularity.

Our bookstore manager did share with me one type of book that she can always sell, no matter its condition. Classic books on school reading lists get snapped up every semester when the hold list gets too long.

If you’ve tried a couple places and no one will take your books, what can you do? Don’t drop them at your library and run, hoping no one will notice. Library workers and volunteers are already over-tasked and under-funded, so please don’t add to the burden. All we can do is recycle or trash it, so you’re simply transferring that responsibility to us. While we’re on the topic, don’t get nasty with them when they say they can’t accept your donation. It’s nothing personal, we promise.

It’s okay to recycle truly unwanted books.

I know it’s painful. If it helps, “each ton of paper recycled saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 380 gallons of oil and 17 trees, not to mention 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water.” (source) Your recycled books could become new books or the box that delivers your new books!

To bring it back to Marie Kondo, one of her methods from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up had a profound impact on my ability to remove unwanted objects from my life. When I first read that she wanted me to thank items for their time and service, I thought that was a little too wacky for my tastes. I’m pretty sure I literally rolled my eyes. But then I tried it. It’s amazing how much guilt and shame that simple, silly act assuaged for me. Try it!

Make sure to look up your local recycling policies. With their binding and glue, books are mixed materials so the recycling process is different. You may not be able to toss them in with other paper recyclables, but you might be able to drop them off at a local recycling center instead. Paperbacks can be recycled as-is, but hardcovers must be removed before being sent to recycling. Books with moldy pages cannot be recycled, but must be tossed in the trash before they can spread their mold to other books.

If a book cannot be reused or given new life in some other way, it’s perfectly okay to recycle it.

By , February 


So you’ve decided to take Marie Kondo’s advice to heart and remove some of the books from your space. Congratulations! It’s a tough thing to do sometimes, we know. But now that you’ve made that decision, you might be left wondering—what do I do with unwanted books? Well, my friend, you’re in luck. I have just the list for you.

8 Things to Do with Unwanted Books


You might not be the most crafty person in the world, but there are lots of crafts you can do with books you’re otherwise finished with. Try something ornate, like making a decorative birdcage out of books or go a bit easier and use book pages as the canvas for your latest print or drawing.


You might have sensitive documents or meaningful trinkets lying around and while we can’t all have a secret room hidden by a bookcase, we can pretty much all have secret boxes that look like books—and were, in a former life—to hide small items in. (Alternatively, switch out the traditional ring box with a book box for a proposal to show your potential future spouse you get them.)


Libraries, prisons, shelters, schools, and certainly other places are often in need of books. Be sure they’re in good condition and not too outdated for maximum helpfulness! Otherwise, you’re just asking someone else to do the work of chucking them in the recycling bin for you.


Just because a book was no good for you doesn’t mean it’s not right for someone else. As long as the book is in good condition and you’re also giving it in good faith—not just to get rid of something—there’s nothing wrong with giving it as a gift.


Almost like regifting, there’s also the option of bringing unwanted books to your nearest Little Free Library. It’s a great way to get to know your neighborhood (and maybe meet your neighbors) while potentially even scoring some new books for yourself. Win-win! You can find official Little Free Libraries near you using their map tool. Meanwhile, you might also find similar, unofficial setups near your home just by going on a walk.


There’s a reason we call big books doorstops. And why not put something big and beautiful to use? It can be both an artful addition to your home and functional. Plus, imagine the conversations you’ll have in your home when others see it. “So, did you actually read War and Peace?” It’s only a hop to the woes of climate change from there—after all, you did reuse and recycle, thus avoiding more plastic packaging from an item actually meant to be a doorstop.


Akin to crafting with books, why not make furniture of them? They’re already piled up around your home, and if you arrange them just so with a little added glue and maybe some additional wooden support, you’ve got yourself a new end table. More recycling—yay!


Everyone likes free stuff! My library does an annual event around Valentine’s Day involving the exchange of romance novels and cupcakes. Why not encourage your coworkers or other groups you see regularly to do something similar? Do it in one big event where everyone gets a ticket for every book they take in to represent the number of books they can take out if you want to be exact about it or set up a system more like a Little Free Library in your break room. One person’s unwanted book is another person’s next great read!

What other ideas do you have for things to do with unwanted books? Tell us in the comments!

By , January 



Towards the end of every year, a lot of people decide to give money to charities to make the world a better place (or get a tax write-off. Hey, your mileage may vary). Here’s a couple of suggestions of bookish charities for this year:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library donates a free book every month to children birth through five in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Over 100 million books have been mailed since the program started, which is pretty amazing. There’s a couple of ways to donate. You can donate to the main organization here or you can find your local affiliate and donate directly to them: Australia , Canada, United Kingdom, and the U.S.

Your Local Nursing Home/Assisted Living Home

Check with your local nursing home, but many of them will happily accept large print books. It might be a good idea to gift some of the newer, more exciting things you read this year (please God, no more da Vinci Code) and maybe even take some time to visit and read them to some of the folks living there (depending on the rules, of course).


The sad reality is that a lot of teachers need assistance in order to get the supplies they need for their classrooms, because America’s public school system needs some serious help. I won’t go into it here, but part of the answer is to vote and advocate for a better system that takes care of teachers (in a good way, not in a murdery way), and part of it is to help teachers and your local schools however you can now. One way is to donate through You can help classrooms with various needs, and make sure that teachers have the tools they need. You can also check with some local child care centers and see if they accept donated books! (Pro-tip: bring over some LGBTQ+ and titles about and by people of color!)

Local Literacy Council

There’s a good chance you have some kind of local literacy council or reading program near you. A lot of literacy councils provide ESL services and reading programs to adults and children free of charge, and it is a good way to invest locally. Just google literacy council/reading programs near me, and donate your time or funds to help people in your community.

Local Library

This has been mentioned before, but it bears repeating. Friends, it is worth investing in your local library (you could even be a “friend” of the library. Ha! Ah, such quality content here at Bookriot). They may need volunteers, they may need cash, they may need something for their upcoming book sale, but what better way to help this season than reaching out to a place that helps people from all generations and income classes in SO MANY WAYS. The library rocks, ya’ll.  Give it some love.

By , November 

Do Good: 12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday

Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Established in 1991, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to creating, publishing, and developing creative writing by Asian Americans. Since 2010, the group has committed to giving away more than $100,000 to emerging Asian American writers. Its online magazine, The Margins, has attracted more than half a million visitors. The AAWW also hosts events featuring hundreds of writers a year, with Maxine Hong Kingston and Chang-rae Lee among the luminaries.

Find out more »
Donate »

Barbershop Books

Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates friendly reading spaces in barbershops for boys. The nonprofit’s mission is to help black boys between the ages of four and eight become readers by bringing books into barbershops—and involving the men who work there to help foster a love of reading. Every dollar invested in a reading space results in 27 minutes of reading in a barbershop. Find out more about the program’s impact as well as how you can get involved.

Learn more »
Donate »

Books Through Bars

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the volunteer-run nonprofit organization Books Through Bars distributes free books to incarcerated people in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. Each week, the organization receives hundreds of letters from prisoners requesting books. And every year Books Through Bars sends more than 8,000 packages of books.

Learn more »
Donate »

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

In 1995, country singer Dolly Parton started the nonprofit Imagination Library to promote reading in her home state of Tennessee. Today the group has donated millions of books to children in need throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Every month the Imagination Library mails more than 1 million books to children’s homes, and in February the nonprofit sent its 100 millionth book. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library partners with local communities; if your community would like to get involved, learn more here.

Get Involved»
Donate »

Girls Write Now

Celebrating its 20th year, the nonprofit Girls Write Now is a community of women writers from ages 13 to 83. The group matches girls with professional women writers to work on portfolios and readings as well as provides writing workshops and college preparation. The New York City-based organization accepts donations and is seeking mentorsmentees, and people to join its team. “We take girls seriously for who they are as well as who they will become,” the group says. “The relationships we foster tear down stereotypes, building a community of women writers of all ages who work to inspire and support one another with every pair session, every reading, and every workshop.”

Find out more »
Get involved»
Donate »

International Literacy Association

The International Literacy Association is a global nonprofit organization of more than 300,000 educators, researchers, and experts across 78 countries. Its mission is to make literacy accessible for all. ILA collaborates with its partners to develop, gather, and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices, and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students, and inform policymakers.

Find out more »
Donate »

Lambda Literary

The nonprofit Lambda Literary believes “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.” The group traces its beginnings back to 1987, when L. Page Maccubbin, owner of Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, D.C., published the first Lambda Book Report. The Lambda Literary Awards, or “Lammys,” followed in 1989. Then in 2007, the group founded its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, a residency designed to offer intensive and sophisticated instruction to select writers over a one-week period. Lambda Literary accepts donations to sustain all of its programs.

Find out more »
Donate »

Learning Ally

The nonprofit Learning Ally uses educational technology to assist struggling readers who have learning differences and visual disabilities. Its cloud-based library of narrated audio textbooks and popular literature—all voiced by volunteers—gives these students access to grade-level content so they can become successful, engaged learners alongside their peers. Working with schools across the U.S., Learning Ally provides teachers with tools, training, and support to help students.

Get Involved»
Donate »

Little Free Library

Painted red and shaped like a miniature one-room schoolhouse in honor of his schoolteacher mother, the first Little Free Library—built by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009—launched what would become a worldwide movement. Just nine years later, more than 75,000 such “Little Free Libraries” dot the globe in all 50 U.S. states and in 88 countries. Often custom painted by local artists, these tiny book collections are outfitted with the cheerful motto “Take a book, return a book!” Believing that no one should have to live in a book desert, the nonprofit Little Free Library needs donations to keep the movement going. Find out how you can help place a Little Free Library in your hometown and in cities across the globe. You can also get involved by becoming the “steward” of your own library by ordering one ready-made or designing your own!

Learn more »
Donate »

National Novel Writing Month

Each November means something special in the writing community: It’s time for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). The basic challenge is to write 50,000 words of a rough draft in the month of November, but NaNoWriMo is so much more than that. The organization provides the structure, community, and guidance necessary to help people find their voices and develop the tools and discipline necessary to build writing mastery. Its programs extend beyond November and go year-round to help people get from the first draft to the last draft and provide opportunities for all ages to participate in a literary community on local and global levels.

Learn more »
Donate »

We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots nonprofit program that is run by children’s book lovers and aims to increase the diversity of books available to young readers. The group works to promote literature featuring children’s book characters who are from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, indigenous, LGBTQ, and other minority communities. We Need Diverse Books was spearheaded by author Ellen Oh and 21 other children’s book writers and industry professionals. The group was founded on the belief that more diversity in children’s books better reflects the world and teaches kids about our differences as well as our shared feelings and aspirations.

Find out more »
Become a fund-raiser »
Volunteer »


Words Without Borders

Founded in 2003, Words Without Borders is an organization that promotes cultural understanding through the translation and publication of contemporary international literature. Every month the group publishes 8 to 12 new works by international writers, including Nobel Prize laureates and new writers. To date, Words Without Borders has published more than 2,400 pieces from 132 countries and 112 languages. In 2014, it also began an education program that provides educators with resources to incorporate contemporary international literature into their classes.

Find out more »
Get involved»
Donate »

By Cybil, December 02, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

We get by with a little help from our friends

Friends of Libraries groups have their very own national week of celebration!

United for Libraries will coordinate the 13th annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 21-27, 2018.

FriendsWe just wanted to take a moment to thank the Friends of the Moline Public Library. Their volunteer-run book store and fundraisers provide invaluable supplemental funding for the library and its programs. Their time and effort have translated to hundreds of thousands of dollars that the library was able to use to give back to the community.

If you want to support the Friends and the Moline Public Library stop by during National Friends of Libraries Week and check out their Silent Auction and Raffle that’s happening in the lobby.

And while your at it you might as well vote while your here!