Have you finally gotten around to Marie Kondo-ing your home and now have books to donate in Philadelphia? If you’re not sure where you can take your old books, then look no further!

There are charities and organizations doing some great work in the City of Brotherly Love. Here you’ll find all their important information to help you easily donate books in Philadelphia, from what each organization needs, to how to donate and their locations.

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

Tree House Books

Donation Type: Drop Off
Location: 1430 W Susquehanna Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19121
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10-6; Saturday 10-3
Type of Books Accepted: Children’s books
Type of Books Not Accepted: Hardcover books, computer/law/investing books over 5 years old
Website: Tree House Books

How to Donate

You can drop off books to Tree House but they request you email Emma to schedule donations ahead of time. Her email is: emma@treehousebooks.org.

You can also host a book drive by bringing their famous Traveling Tree House to you!

Why We Love Tree House

Tree House champion literacy and learning in North Philly. Their base acts as a donation center as well as a learning center that offers out of school programs for families and children. They also send bundles of books they call “take home libraries” to disadvantaged children all across Philadelphia. 

Book Smiles

Donation Type: Book bin drop off, in-store drop off
Primary Location: 7300 North Crescent Blvd, ​Unit 10, Pennsauken, NJ 08110
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5, Sat 9-3
Other Locations: Find a drop off location here
Type of Books Accepted: All books for kids or adults
Donation Tax Receipt: Yes
Website: Book Smiles

How to Donate

Book Smiles have over 20 locations for book bins in Philadelphia and east in New Jersey as far as Atlantic City. They have separate bins for kids and grown ups; just keep in mind they recommend 1-2 bags max so the bins don’t fill up too much. 

You can also bring the books directly to their main location in Pennsauken and they’ll help you unload them. For donations of over 2,000 books, contact Book Smiles directly to arrange an appointment.

book smiles
All smiles! Photo credit: Book Smiles

Why We Love Book Smiles

Quite simply, they want to use books to create smiles. Not only do they donate directly to students, but they use their donations to populate classroom libraries in Philadelphia and New Jersey. If you’re a teacher, get in touch with them!

Books Through Bars

Donation Type: Drop Off (but get in touch with them first)
Location: 4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Opening Hours: Saturday 11AM-2PM; Tuesday 7.30PM-9.30PM
Type of Books Accepted: Virtually all genres as long as they’re in paperback and in good condition
Type of Books Not Accepted: Hardcover books, computer/law/investing books over 5 years old
Donation Receipt: No
Website: Books Through Bars

How to Donate

You must contact Books Through Bars either through email or phone 215-727-8170 before donating. They ask if you can specify: how many books you intend to donate, the condition of the books and the subject/genre of the books.

More on Books Through Bars

Book Through Bars’ main aim is to reverse the devastating effects that injustice and incarceration has on individuals. They distribute free books and educational material to prisoners in 7 states. Their mission is to send books to anyone that asks, as long as the prison accepts books.

The organization regularly holds events and competitions that you can find out more about on their Facebook page.

You can donate used books in Philadelphia to Books Through Bars, but they only accept books in new, good or lightly used condition. A good way to know if the books are okay to donate is to ask yourself if you’d gift one happily to a loved one.

Books 4 Cause

Donation Type: Pick up from you
Type of Books Accepted: Almost everything
Type of Books Not Accepted: Magazines or journals
Donation Receipt: No
Website: Books 4 Cause Philly

How to Donate

Organize a pick up date of your choice here.

Post-pandemic, Books 4 Cause don’t offer “regular” pickups around Philly, but you can still schedule a pickup time as long as you’re within 10 miles of Center City.

Books 4 Cause are a worthwhile cause to donate to if you’re within range. They’ve helped build over 118 libraries in Africa with donations from their hubs in Philly and other locations on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Go Green Drop

Donation Type: Drop off, pickup from you
Location: Multiple drop off locations, call them to find the closest
Type of Books Accepted: Hardback, paperback, children’s books
Donation Receipt: Yes
Website: Go Green

How to Donate

Phone 1-888-944-3767 to organize an appointment with one of their pickup trucks or find a donation bin near you.

There are multiple drop off locations across Philadelphia, but if you wish to utilize the pick up service, you can simply leave your donation outside, and their driver will take all of the acceptable items. 

The driver will also be able to leave a tax receipt to use for your tax deductible donation. 

There is also a service where one of the drivers will help you pack and remove the goods you wish to donate.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Donation Type: Pick up from you
Type of Books Accepted: Board books
Website: Reach Out and Read Hospital Program

How to Donate

Books can be picked up within 60 miles of West Philadelphia as long as:

  • Their program associate can give a brief description of the program and officially thank you for your kind donations
  • You can have someone load the boxes in their very colorful cargo van.

The books they are always in need of are:

  • New board books for infants and toddlers up to 30 months old

Used books should be gently used. 

Ring 215-590-5989 and select option 3 to learn more and how to schedule a pick up. If you would like to mail your books instead (this is a cost that they don’t cover), select option 1 to receive the appropriate address to send them to.

Project Home

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: 1523 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Type of Books Accepted: Preferably art, academic and religious books, but they accept anything in good condition
Donation Receipt: Yes
Website: Project Home

How to Donate

Project Home is a more general charity working in the Philadelphia area that accept donations to their store, and they have recently begun their “Book Drive” program. Find out about how to host a book drive with Project Home by visiting the website link above.

Once you’ve collected your books, Project Home will then sort and sell the books online through Amazon to raise much-needed funds. They need around 25,000 books to be able to do this steadily.

Philly AIDS Thrift

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: Philly AIDS Thrift, 710 S. 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Opening Hours: Wed-Thurs 12-7; Fri-Sat 12-8; Sun 12-6
Type of Books Accepted: Almost everything
Type of Books Not Accepted: Encyclopaedias, textbooks
Donation Receipt: Yes
Website: Philly AIDS Thrift

How to Donate

Philly AIDS Thrift accepts donations five days a week, but please note they don’t accept donations on Monday and Tuesdays.

Philly AIDS Thrift encourages you to donate not just your books, but any belongings that you don’t need anymore. From clothes, DVDs to home furnishings, they can make use of it!

You can email them here.

Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia

Donation Type: Drop off
Location: Find a drop off location here
Type of Books Accepted: All books ages 0-12
Type of Books Not Accepted: Books with family-related messaging, for example books saying “Me and mommy”, religious/holiday-themed books
Donation Tax Receipt: Yes
Website: Cradles to Crayons

How to Donate

Put in your zip code here to find your local drop off point. Cradles to Crayons have 15 locations all over Philadelphia. Their public ones are at their own Giving Factory, and the Rocky Run and Willow Grove YMCAs. They have several at private residences too.

Email Cradles to Crayons if you’re interested in becoming a drop off site.

Cradles to Crayons are always after baby board books through to grade 6.

Why We Love Cradles to Crayons

Though they’re not a specific book donation nonprofit, Cradles for Crayons has an incredibly noble cause. They take all their donations, package them in their volunteer warehouse, The Giving Factory, then distribute the donated goods to underprivileged children living in poverty. They’re active in the Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston communities.

The Book Corner @ Parkway Central Library

Donation Type: Drop Off (appointment only)
Location: 1901 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 – directly behind the main building at the intersection of N.20th St and Wood St.
Opening Hours: Call 215-567-0527 for hours
Type of Books Accepted: Rare books and manuscripts
Donation Receipt: No
Website: Free Library Book Corner

West Philadelphia Alliance for Children

Donation Type: Pick up from you
Type of Books Accepted: All books from kindergartners to 8th graders
Type of Books Not Accepted: Books with dedications, stamps, or very used books
Donation Tax Receipt: Unknown
Website: WEPAC

The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children requests you call them so they can get an idea for the number of books you wish to donate. Their number is: 215-452-0333. Once the donation is arranged, they’ll pick up the books from your house at a convenient time.

This is another organization that believes in the power of reading and how integral reading is for young kids.

Where Can I Donate Books in Philadelphia? The Sparknotes: 

  • Tree House Books
  • Book Smiles
  • Books Through Bars
  • Books 4 Cause
  • Go Green Drop
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Project Home
  • Philly AIDS Thrift
  • Cradles to Crayons
  • West Philadelphia Alliance for Children
  • Free Library of Philadelphia Book Corner

We hope this has given you some motivation to donate your books now you know exactly where to go, or has given you some inspiration to clear out the books you no longer read.