Looking to donate your gently used books in Brew City? Here are the best places to donate books in Milwaukee.

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

Next Door Books for Kids

Donation Type: Drop off, or host a book drive
Location: 2545 N. 29th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53210
Type of Books Accepted: Children’s books, with an emphasis on board books, picture books, multicultural and multilingual books 
Website: Next Door MKE

How to Donate

Books for Kids request you make an appointment to discuss your donation and schedule a drop-off time. Please contact Jackie at 414.562.2929 x2509 or jshanti@NextDoorMKE.org

Why We Love Books for Kids

This organization has a strong emphasis on helping children read to their age reading level by the time they start school. 

They have a community library, a mobile library (see the awesome pic below) as well as little free libraries all around town. They truly care about closing the literacy gap, and have provided over a million books to kids since their inception!

donate books milwaukee

Literary Services of Wisconsin

Donation Type: Drop off, or host a book drive
Location: 555 N. Plankinton Avenue, WI 53203-2901
Type of Books Not Accepted: Magazines, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest condensed editions
Website: Literacy Services

How to Donate

The more simple way to donate is to drop your books off at their downtown center (address above.) To do so, you should contact Dustin Slane (Director of Marketing) via phone (414) 344-5878 or email dustin@literaryservices.org to arrange a time to donate books directly.

The organization also encourages you to host book drives. As a really impactful local service, this is something we wanted to highlight in case it’s something your business/school may be interested in. They’ll provide pick up/delivery of goods, as well as posters/resources to make sure your book drive can be the best it can.

Why We Love Literary Services of Wisconsin

Literary Services of Wisconsin seek to reverse the negative impact on literacy in those who drop out of high school, and provide support to those who have moved to the US and do not have a good understanding of the English language. Your donation will be sold to economically support the organization, and where appropriate your books will be used in their Adult Basic Education, GED Preparation, and English Language Learning programs.

Wisconsin Books to Prisoners

Donation Type: Drop off in book bin
Location: Bay View neighborhood – contact for the exact location
Type of Books Accepted: Thesauruses, almanacs, educational books, all types of fiction, Spanish books
Type of Books Not Accepted: Hardcover books, textbooks pre-2018
Website: Wisconsin Books to Prisoners

How to Donate

While there is a list of books that would be particularly appreciated on the link above, any paperback book donation is welcome.

Bear the cause in mind when you’re going through your bookshelves – the Department of Corrections policy means that they can only accept paperbacks in good condition, which are free from any highlighting, underlining, or marks.

Why We Love Wisconsin Books to Prisoners

Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin Books to Prisoners mails books to incarcerated adults, in an incredibly noble effort to increase their literacy skills and give them a foot up for when they leave prison. The program attempts to meet prisoner requests wherever they can, but any book will be welcomed, as long as it’s a paperback.

Give the gift of helping inmates the most of their time inside, either by providing some escapism, or offering the opportunity to learn a new skill.

Wisconsin Books to Prisoners also operate in Madison.

note from a prisoner requesting book donations
A heartfelt example of a letter from a prisoner // Credit: WI Books to Prisoners

South Milwaukee Public Library

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: 1907 10th Avenue, WI 53172 
Hours: Mon, Thu 11-7; Tue, Wed, Fri 9-5; Sat 10-2
Type of Books Not Accepted: Textbooks, encyclopedias, newspapers, books in bad condition
Website: SM Library Book Donation Policy

How to Donate

South Milwaukee Public Library accepts book donations at the first-floor desk during the opening hours above. You can request a tax receipt upon donation.

If you’ve finally accepted that you exclusively use Netflix and Spotify nowadays, they also accept donations of CDs and DVDs. Donated goods may be added to the collection, or sold as a part of the Friends Book Sale.

COA Youth & Family Centers

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: 909 E. North Avenue, WI 53212
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
Type of Books Accepted: Children’s books in English, Arabic and Spanish, school supplies (such as empty notebooks)
Website: COA-YFC

How to Donate

This is a great chance to donate any gently used children’s books to a deserving organization in Milwaukee.

See the wish list above for further guidance, or give them a call on (414) 2907870×1211 if you’re not sure if they could benefit from your donation. They will advise you if it would be appropriate to drop your donation off at their administration building. 

Why We Love COA Youth and Family Centers

COA Youth and Family Centers support underprivileged families through a range of outreach programs, and they need your help. Give your gently used books a new life by donating them, so they can be distributed to families participating in their program. 

Their mission is to ensure those facing low income related challenges reach their full potential, with a focus on including the parents in the process.

Where To Donate Books in Milwaukee: The SparkNotes

  • Next Door Books for Kids
  • Literary Services of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Books to Prisoners
  • South Milwaukee Public Library
  • COA Youth & Family Centers

And, there you are! Your ultimate guide to the best places to donate books in Milwaukee.