Have you started your spring clean early, and have some unloved books cluttering up your home? If you’re from San Francisco and not sure where the best places to donate old books are, then you’ve found the right place!

We’ve compiled a list of where to donate books in San Francisco, so after you’re done Kon Mari-ing your home, you can help a great local cause in your area.

Children’s Book Project

Donation Types: Drop off, Drop off in book bins, Book drive
Location: 1360 43rd Avenue, Room 105, San Francisco
Hours: Mon & Thu 3:30pm – 6pm; Wed 10am – 12pm; first Saturday of each month: 10am-1pm
Other Locations: SF, Peninsula, East Bay and Marin book bin locations can be found here for easy drop offs
Website: Children’s Book Project

How to Donate

You can drop off books in person at their physical address above, or take advantage of the numerous book bins around San Francisco and the bay area.

The Children’s Book Project also encourages you to hold a book drive if you feel strongly enough about their cause and have the resources to. Just reach out to them for more info.

The Children’s Book Project is always in need of high interest, new or gently used books for children of all ages, from babies to teenagers.

The following books are accepted:

  • Books that include diverse characters for all ages
  • Board books
  • Spanish or Chinese language books for all ages
  • Popular series for 8-12 year olds
  • Graphic novels

Due to limited space, the following items are not accepted:

  • Non fiction books for over 10 year olds
  • Library discards
  • Religious books
  • Dirty, dusty, moldy books (or any books in bad condition)
  • Vintage books

For a full list of what’s accepted, needed and not accepted you can find it on their website above.

Why We Love Children’s Book Project

The project empowers teachers and caseworkers by allowing them to come to their Book Bank and choose books that they think would best be suited to their children.

They actually have a number of programs within their organization, such as their “Read Aloud” initiative which aims to level up teachers and anyone working with children to be able to help parents, or anyone, with story time and “reading aloud” to their children. 

They also run an initiative for teenagers 16+ to come into their Book Bank and sort through the books. This is a super helpful way to involve a group of the community that might not usually be thought of when it comes to book charities, and a great way for high school/college students to contribute.

donate books san francisco
“The Giving Tree” @ Folio Books. Credit: Children’s Book Project

Prisoners Literature Project

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Hours: 11:30-7:30pm daily, but call ahead on (415) 431-8355 to check if someone will be there.
Website: Prisoners Literature Project

How to Donate

Any books that are in good condition are encouraged to be donated to the program, even if they aren’t suitable to send directly to the prisoners. Drop the books off at the Bound Together bookstore in Haight Ashbury. 

The Prison Literature Project always need paperbacks in good condition, and also hardcovers, in particular modern textbooks in current editions.

The following books are the most requested by prisoners:

  • Dictionaries – including ASL sign language and thesauruses.
  • ‘How to’ books – construction, gardening etc
  • Books on culture – in particular African-American, Latino, and Native American history
  • Good quality detective, sci-fi, fantasy fiction and western paperbacks.

The program also has an Amazon wishlist, which you can buy books for them from if you’re feeling super generous.

Why We Love Prisoners Literature Project

The nonprofit’s goal is to send as much free literature to prisoners as possible. By giving those who are incarcerated access to reading materials, they aim to aid the prisoners’ ability to learn and think critically. 

The charity has been active in the Bay Area for a while, and they frequently receive letters from prisoners thanking them for their books, which shows the difference they’re making.

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

Donation Type: Drop off
Book Donation Center: 1630 17th Street (between Carolina and Wisconsin)
Friends Bookstore Fort Mason Center: Building C, Room 165, Fort Mason Center
Book Donation Center
Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 4pm
Saturday: 10am – 2pm
Sunday – Monday: Closed
Friends Bookstore Fort Mason Center
7 days a week from 10am – 6pm
Types of Book Accepted: Textbooks, graphic novels, comic books, general adult/children’s books in good condition
Types of Book Not Accepted: Encyclopedias, magazines, children’s books from school libraries i.e. books with stamps in them
Website: Friends of the SF Public Library

How to Donate

The Friends Bookstore only takes smaller donations of 4 boxes or less. The Book Donation Center will be able to take larger donations, but please call ahead if you have any queries: (415) 771-1076. If you have more than 20 of the same book, call (415) 522-8606. Your donation is tax-deductible, and helps provide support to the San Francisco Library, so this is a great place to donate books in San Francisco.

where to donate books in san francisco
The North Beach Branch of SFPL gets a canine visitor. Credit: SFPLF

Access Books

Donation Type: Drop off
Primary Location: 80 Harriet Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Email them to arrange a drop off
Alternate Location: Greene Middle School Library, 750 N. California Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Type of Books Accepted: Elementary school books, graphics novels, bilingual/Spanish books
Website: Access Books

How to Donate

Although we listed their known locations above, things do change, and Access Books specifically request you email them to arrange a drop off date and location. Their email is: books@accessbooksbayarea.org

Why We Love Access Books

They’re a really great option if you have used children’s books, in good condition, to give away. Why? Access Books work solely to fund public school libraries in impoverished areas. With offices across California, the Bay Area branch is headed up by Amanda Collins, a school librarian who acutely understands the lack of funding given to school libraries in the state.

And there you go! These options are all great places to donate books in San Francisco – there’s no excuse not to donate now, as hopefully you’ve gained inspiration to donate those books gathering dust.