Looking to donate your books in Berkeley? The good news is there are plenty of options.

Here, we feature a local nonprofit that helps prisoners get access to books, a local library, and a bookstore where you can exchange books if that’s what you’re looking for.

If you want to explore more nonprofits with noble causes across the bay, check out our guide on where to donate books in San Francisco.

Prisoners Literature Project

Donation Type: Drop off, Book drive
Location: 2022 Blake St, Berkeley, CA 94704
Hours: Check their site for donation guidelines 
Type of Books Accepted: Paperback books, dictionaries, manuals, self-help books, exercise/yoga books
Type of Books Not Accepted: Hardcover books

How to Donate

Prisoners Literature gives you a number of ways to donate. If you wish to drop off used books, you’ll need to contact their volunteer Bruno on 510-434-6284 by texting photos of the books, to check if you can drop them off, and he will let you know. 

Alternatively, the program has “book lists” with local bookstores Books Inc., East Bay Booksellers, Pegasus Books and Green Apple Books.

If you wish to host a book drive like this local high school did, contact them for the best way to do so. 

books donated to prisoners lit project in berkeley
Credit: Prisoners Literature Project

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 Berkeley Public Library

Donation Type: Drop off
Primary Location: Central Bookstore, 2090 Kittredge Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Secondary Location: Channing Bookstore, 2433 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Hours: Both open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm; Central Bookstore is also open Mondays 12-4pm
Type of Books Accepted: Paperbacks/hardcovers in good condition, maps, pamphlets and other ephemera 
Type of Books Not Accepted: Magazines, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digests, Time-Life books, romance novels, textbooks over 3 years old
Website: Berkeley Library Friends

How to Donate

The Library Friends operate two bookstores, and recommend using boxes to bring your books into the most convenient store. If you have more than 5 boxes worth of books, please call ahead of time so they can make sure they have the room: 510-841-5604.

berkeley public library book donations
From Berkeley with love. Credit: BPL Friends

Why We Love the Berkeley Library Friends

They’ll sell any donated books in good condition to raise money for a host of valuable library programs. Think things like educational classes, cultural programs, and more. Judging by their Instagram page, the Friends have a blast running the bookstores and they are “stocked to the rafters” in a good way!

Pegasus Books

Donation Type: Trade/exchange
Downtown Location: 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6:30pm; Sun 10am-5pm
Other Location: Solano: 1855 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707
Type of Books Accepted: Trade paperbacks and hardcovers, collections
Website: See their selling guidelines here

How to Donate

If you’re looking to get a little something in exchange for your books, Pegasus is the place to head to. Just bring your books in and they’ll value them, either giving you money in exchange or a blue slip that acts as a “store credit.” Pegasus also have a location in Oakland if you’re looking where to donate books in Oakland.

The great thing that stands out to me is the variety of places to donate books in Berkeley. Though there are only three organizations, there are multiple locations throughout the city, and each will benefit the area in a unique way, if you choose to give them your books.