Have you found yourself with some surplus stocks after a cleanup of your personal library? Maybe your kids have grown and you need to unload the outdated children’s books?

The good news is, if you live in or around the motor city you’re not short of places to donate your books. From charities working to distribute books to those who need them most, to stores where you can trade in old books for cash, Detroit is not short of places that will take your books.

Note: We prioritize organizations that dedicate time and resources to aiding literacy in their local communities.

Cover image credit: Birdie’s Book Drive


RX for Reading Detroit

Donation Type: Pick up from you, Drop off
Drop Off Location: University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221
Type of Books Accepted: Children’s books of all sorts
Website: RX Reading

How to Donate

RX for Reading are happy to collect your books. They advise emailing them to arrange a pick up time at: readingdetroit@gmail.com 

Alternatively, they accept donations in-person at University of Detroit Mercy.

Why We Love RX for Reading

RX distributes all of its donated books to places like homeless shelters, local schools, hospitals, and more in Detroit. Their output of donated books is incredible: they average distributing about 2,000 books a month in the Detroit area! 

They’re also committed to closing the literacy gap in Detroit and Michigan as a whole. Only 19% of children from low-income backgrounds have a third grade reading level by the time they’re in third grade. 

Credit: ReadingRX

The Children’s Center

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: 79 Alexandrine West, Detroit, MI 48201
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8am-8pm; Fri 8am-5pm
Type of Books Accepted: Children’s books
Website: The Children’s Center

How to Donate

They ask for gently used or like-new children’s books. Just bring them by the Center during opening hours.

Why We Love The Children’s Center

Their specialists and clinicians work with children who’ve been subject to trauma in the past, and those with learning difficulties. They provide an in-home service to help families share the load, and any book donations will go directly to the families they help to promote story time as a positive activity the whole family can enjoy and learn from together.

Brilliant Detroit

Donation Type: Drop off, Pick up from you
Location: 5675 Larkins Street, Detroit, MI 48210
Type of Books Accepted: Coloring books, activity books, educational books, general children’s books (see all requested titles on their wishlist below)
Website: Check out their wishlist

How to Donate

Their wishlist is the best place to start. Here, Brilliant Detroit have listed the exact titles they want when it comes to children’s books. If you have any activity or coloring books too, this is definitely the right organization to donate books to in Detroit.

Alternatively, you can arrange a pick up by emailing Brilliant Detroit with your address details.

Why We Love Brilliant Detroit

The mission of Brilliant Detroit is to create “kid success neighborhoods.” By repurposing donated items, they set up family centers in local districts where families can give their children the mechanisms to succeed in school by taking part in health and education programs, among others.

They really promote diversity, and the books they request on their wishlist reflect this. This sort of purpose is really important when working in a city like Detroit.

Making Spirits Bright

Donation Types: Pick up from you, Drop off
Drop Off Location: 28580 Orchard Lake Rd, Ste 104, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Book Drive Locations: Check their website for all current book drives
Type of Books Accepted: Baby through adult
Website: Making Spirits Bright

How to Donate

Drop off at their main warehouse location, or visit one of their upcoming book drives near you. They’re also happy to collect your books, so if you’d like to arrange a pick up, please email support@makingspiritsbright.org.

donated books being used as a free library in detroit
A free library set up using donated books by Making Spirits Bright at Words of Hope for Life

Why We Love Making Spirits Bright

Co-founded by author Maria Dismondy, Making Spirits Bright is a new organization founded in 2023 that partners with a wide variety of local schools and charitable programs such as the All Things Women Shelter to build out their libraries.

KAN Books

Donation Type: Email them to arrange
Location: 9405 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202
Type of Books Accepted: Book bags, dictionaries, school supplies; email them for others
Website: KAN Books

Why We Love KAN Books

They provide you the opportunity to donate books outside the “norm”, that is to say they take school supplies, dictionaries and other forms of books that charitable organizations may not.

KAN Books are pretty cool. They’re a co-op bookstore that promotes local authors of color. As well as running children’s book clubs, they have a literacy entrepreneurs program specifically designed for children and teens 8-18, which gives kids the chance to take part in open mics and poetry slams among other things.

Birdie’s Book Drive

Birdie’s Book Drive

Donation Type: Host a book drive
Type of Books Accepted: All children’s books in good condition
Website: Birdie’s Book Drive

How to Donate

Birdie’s is a little different: they request you host a book drive in order to donate. They may take one-off donations, but they also will provide you with the necessary tools to host a successful book drive yourself!

Bookstock

Donation Type: Drop off, Pick up from you, Drop off in book bin
Locations: Several drop off locations in Livonia and West Bloomfield; see them here
Hours: Hours are specified on the above link for each location
Type of Books Accepted: Any gently used books
Type of Books Not Accepted: Magazines, encyclopedias, textbooks (medical/law books)
Website: Bookstock MI

How to Donate

The Bookstock location details seem to change regularly depending on who can provide a facility for donations. Best to check their link above to see when you can drop off your books.

Why We Love Bookstock

They’re a local program run by volunteers that pumps all proceeds from their book sales into literacy programs in Detroit. Awesome.

Library Bookstore

Donation Type: Drop off/exchange
Location: 169 W Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220
Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-6pm
Type of Books Accepted: Books of value
Website: Library Bookstore

How to Donate

The Library Bookstore will be happy to value any books you think may be worth something and exchange them for cash.

Where to Donate Books in Detroit: The Sparknotes

  • RX for Reading Detroit
  • The Children’s Center
  • Brilliant Detroit
  • Making Spirits Bright
  • Birdie’s Book Drive
  • KAN Books
  • Bookstock
  • Library Bookstore

As you can see, there are an abundance of places willing to accept your books. Also, if you’re going to be making the trip to the University of Michigan at any point, be sure to read up on our top picks for Ann Arbor book donations in case you or anyone you know has a surplus of books there too.