Do you have too many books? Have you been searching for ways to donate books in Chicago? If this sounds like you, then look no further, this is the perfect place for you! We’ve compiled a list with all the best places to donate books in Chicago, with information on how to donate, what books the organizations need and where you can take them to be donated. 

Where to Donate Books in Chicago

Image by David Mark


Uncharted Books

Location: 5140 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640

Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 11am-7pm, Thursday to Saturday 11am-9pm

Welcomes walk-in sellers Monday to Tuesday 12pm-6pm

Donation Receipt: No

Website: https://www.unchartedbooks.com/sell-your-books.php

How to Donate: 

Uncharted Books is a used and rare bookstore and will not accept any donations in bad condition. The store has limited space, staff and funds. Their inventory is always changing, so the genres they are or aren’t accepting may change. At the time of writing, this is the list of genres that they are accepting:

  • Rare and antiquarian books
  • Fiction – in particular contemporary, literacy novels and single-author fiction collections
  • Poetry
  • Trade-bound comics
  • Identity politics – feminism, LGBT and race issues
  • Philosophy

The list below is what Uncharted Books are not currently accepting:

  • Anthologies
  • Business
  • Magazines
  • Textbooks
  • Diet books

For a full list of what is and isn’t accepted, check out their website.


Chicago Books for Women in Prison

Location: 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

Hours: Saturday to Sunday 2pm-4:30pm

Donation Receipt: Yes

Website: https://chicagobwp.org/how-to-help/donations/

How to Donate: Drop off the books to the prison on weekends, 2pm-4:30pm. 

Alternatively, you can mail the books – send by USPS to the address:

Chicago Books to Women in Prison c/o RFUMC

4511 N.Hermitage Ave.

Chicago, IL 60640

Please note that the storage is limited and they are currently well-stocked. If unsure if you should donate, email chicagobwp@gmail.com first.

Below is a selected list of their most wanted books – books should be in very good condition.

  • Urban fiction and Christian urban fiction
  • True crime
  • Dream dictionaries
  • Yoga
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Books in Spanish – fiction and non-fiction

Books they are unable to accept:

  • Hardcover books, spiral bindings, sticker books, glitter or unconventional materials
  • Magazines
  • Books with more than minimal writing inside (inscription is permitted)
  • Board games

Items they do not need:

  • Coloring or children’s books

For a full list of the books they require and are unable to accept, please visit their website.


Book Driver

Location: Will organize the collection of donations

Hours: N/A

Donation Receipt: No

Website: http://www.bookdriver.net/about-us/book-driver-chicago/

How to Donate: Fill in a request donation pick up form or call/message 720-840-0291

Book Driver is a book donation pick up service, where you contact them requesting a pick up, and they will do exactly that! They will arrange a time and date that suits you to pick up the books or goods you wish to donate. The pick up is limited to 10 boxes or 300 books.

Once contacted, Book Driver aims to get back to you within 1 business day.

Book Driver takes books, DVDs. vinyls, CDs and video games. All are sold or donated and support a wide range of charities such as:

Open Books, Friends of Library Organizations, First Book Chicago and Good Will.

Book Driver will not accept the following:

  • Magazines
  • Large folio photography or coffee table books
  • Childrens and kids books
  • Damaged books
  • Cook books
  • Legal books

For a full list of items that should not be donated to Book Driver, please visit their website.

Please bear in mind, if you require a write-off or tax receipt, Book Driver does not offer this service.


Open Books

Locations: Open Books has four drop off points across Chicago making it easier than ever to donate your unwanted books! 

West Loop 

651 W Lake, Chicago, IL 60661

No more than 4 boxes at this location

645 W Couch Pl., Chicago, IL 60661

Drop off box is located between Randolph and Lake St., behind the West Loop store

Pilsen

905 W 19th Street., Chicago, IL 60608

Drop in the slot in the front of the building available 24 hours a day.

River North

802 W. Superior, Chicago, IL 60642

Drop box at the corner of Halsted and Superior.

Hours:

West Loop

Monday to Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm

Pilsen

Larger donations are accepted during store hours 7 days a week 10am-4pm

Donation Receipt: No

Website: https://www.open-books.org/donate-books/

How to Donate: Use the drop off locations listed above, or arrange a pick up through the form on their website. Open Books can collect the donations from Monday to Friday 10am-2pm in their booksmobile.

Open Books accept:

  • Children’s books
  • Books in all genres in good condition
  • CDs, DVDs and LPs

Open Books do not accept:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Old textbooks
  • Books with damage
  • Magazines
  • VHS tapes or Audiobooks on cassette

Where to Donate Books in Chicago

Photo by Engin Akyurt


Books 4 Cause

Location: Will organize the collection of donations

Hours: Monday to Friday 7am-3pm

Donation Receipt: No

Website: http://www.books4cause.com/chicago-book-and-electronic-donations/

How to Donate: Organize a pickup service through their website contact form.

To fully utilize Books 4 Cause’s services, a $25 donation to the African Library Project charity is required in return for the full book pick up service. This service includes boxes and tape, and the muscle needed to move those heavy books.

Books 4 Cause accepts books, CDs and DVDs. While most condition books are welcomed, if you know your book should or needs to be recycled, Books 4 Cause encourages you to do this yourself. 

The organization also accepts old books, if the information is still relevant.

K-12 grade books are sent to either kids in Africa or sent to kids in Chicago, and college level books are given to an African University Library or resold, depending on the needs of the universities. 

The rest are either sold, given away or recycled.


Bernie’s Book Bank

Location: 917 North Shore Dr., Lake Buff, IL 60044

Hours: 8:30am-5pm Monday through Saturday

Or, drop off books at any Wintrust Bank location

Donation Receipt: Yes

Website: https://www.berniesbookbank.org/donate-books/individual-donate-books/

How to Donate: Easy drop off at Bernie’s Book Bank. If you have a large number of books, they can help you unload them from your car into the side door. Ring the doorbell once you have driven up the driveway, and someone can assist you.

Have 500 or more books? Bernie’s Book Bank will collect them from you, contact them here. Please bear in mind that the boxes should be no bigger than the size of a bankers box.

Bernie’s Book Bank accepts new and lightly used children’s books, from birth to 6th grade.

They do no accept textbooks, dictionaries, activity books, coloring books, reference material, religious books or foreign-language books (dual language is fine).


The Newberry (Chicago’s Independent Research Library)

Location: 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610

Hours: 9am-4pm, Monday to Saturday

Donation Receipt: Yes, through Book Fair Manager or guard on duty

Website: https://www.newberry.org/donate-books-and-materials

How to Donate: If you are considering donating books to The Newberry, please contact collecting@newberry.org first. 

The Newberry accepts books, music, DVDs and other collectible items for their annual book fair.

They accept: 

  • Books – fiction and non-fiction for children and adults (both paperback and hardcover are welcomed)
  • Manuscripts
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Magazines (history, art, literacy and antiques)

The Newberry are not currently accepting:

  • Weekly magazines such as The New Yorker, Vogue etc
  • Condensed books
  • Textbooks
  • Materials with excessive highlighting, missing covers or damaged by insects
  • Other non-book donations

Small donations (less than 5 boxes or bags) can be dropped off at the loading dock on the North side of the building. Large donations (more than 5 boxes or bags) can be dropped off but a call is required to schedule in advance on 312-255-3581.


Donation Town

Location: Will organize the collection of donations

Hours: N/A

Donation Receipt: No

Website: http://donationtown.org/news/donate-books.html

How to Donate: Log in to Donation Town and find a local charity in need and schedule a fast and free pick up.

Donation Town is a service that helps you find a charity in your local area that is in need of book donations. 

The donations collected will help children learn to read, supports adult literacy programs and support incarcerated populations. The charities that Donation Town support include: Vietnam Veterans of America, Howard Brown Health Center and Sunlight of the Spirit. For a full list of charities can be found by entering your zip code here. Donation Town is one of the few book donation organizations that allow you to donate textbooks in Chicago, so this is one to go for if you have a lot of these type of books.

Donation Town accepts:

  • Baby books
  • Children’s books
  • Textbooks such as law or medical books
  • Mystery and science fiction novels
  • Foreign language books and guides
  • How to and do-it-yourself guides
  • Dictionaries, high school and college books

Where to Donate Books in Chicago

Image by Nick Youngson


Turn The Page

Locations: 

Block 37

108 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602

Thompson Center

100 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60602

Hours: 

Block 37

Monday to Friday 8am-7pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am-6pm

Thompson Center

Monday to Friday 11am-5pm, closed both Saturday and Sunday

Donation Receipt: No

Website: http://turningthepage.org/what-we-do/book-donations-in-chicago/

How to Donate: Turn The Page hosts yearly pop up book sales in Chicago where it sells books, CDs, DVDs and vinyals that were donated by the public. All proceeds go to Turning The Page in support of their program initiatives.

Turning The Page accepts all donations of any genres and for all ages with the exception of encyclopedias, magazines, textbooks (10 years or older) and VHS or cassette tapes.

If you have 5 or more boxes to donate, you are able to schedule a pick up from your home or business. Call 773-362-8598 or fill out the contact form here


Pilsen Community Books

Location: 1102 W 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608

Hours: Sunday to Monday 11am-7pm, Tuesday to Saturday 11am-9pm

Donation Receipt: No

Website: https://www.pilsencommunitybooks.org/sell-books

How to Donate: Book an appointment by emailing books@pilsen.org with clear photos of the types of books you’re wanting to sell.

Pilsen Community Books is slightly different to the other organizations in this list, as instead of donating the books, you’re selling the books to them to then sell on your behalf. Once sold, the profits will help support Pilsen’s schools.

They do not accept:

  • Children’s books or Young Adult books older than 2014
  • Romance
  • Books with highlighting, underlining or notes
  • Encyclopedias, law books, text books or teaching materials.
  • Magazines of any type

Where Can I Donate Books in Chicago? The Sparknotes: 

  • Uncharted Books
  • Chicago Books for Women in Prison
  • Book Driver
  • Open Books
  • Books 4 Cause
  • Bernie’s Book Bank
  • The Newberry
  • Donation Town
  • Turn The Page
  • Pilsen Community Books

And that’s it! We hope this has helped you find some motivation to donate the books that have been sitting on your bookshelf waiting to be rehomed, or inspired you to start thinking about donating.