The recent pandemic may have had you cooped up inside reading more, or maybe your bookshelves are bursting and you want to have a clear out. Either way, a de-clutter of books may be on the cards for you. If so, we’re here to help with our handy guide to the best places to donate books in Pittsburgh.

donate books pittsburgh

📸 Vidar Nordli-Mathisen


University of Pittsburgh

Location: 3960 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States Hours: 10am-10pm
Donation Receipt: No
Website: https://www.library.pitt.edu/gift-exchange  

How to Donate

The University’s already massive collection makes them a little pickier about the books they’ll accept. Their main criteria include books which are not currently owned within their collection and that conform to current criteria which is listed on their site. They are however an excellent option if you’re looking to unload textbooks or unusual titles. Unapproved drop-offs won’t be accepted so make sure you contact them first using this form.


The Mt. Lebanon Book Cellar

Location: 16 Castle Shannon Blvd, Lower Level, Pittsburgh, PA. 15228
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 1:30-4pm
Donation Receipt: No
Website: http://www.mtlebobookcellar.com/index.html 

How to Donate

Connected to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, all proceeds from your donations go towards the upkeep of the library. All books which are in good condition are accepted, they even do regular drives which ask for specific genres of book, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for these.

Donated books are sold for as little as 50 cents, with hardbacks going for around $2, meaning your books will be given a new lease of life at affordable prices for those who want easy access to literature.

Due to COVID-19 related circumstances, they are currently not open or accepting donations. Keep an eye on their website for updates.


Carnegie Library

Locations: 4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh PA 15213 (main site). Use this link to find your nearest location
Hours: Tues, Fri & Sat 10am-5pm. Wed & Thurs 12pm-7pm
Donation Receipt: No
Website: https://www.carnegielibrary.org/donate/books-and-materials/ 

How to Donate

The Library accepts gently used, or like-new books. Most donated items are sold in book sales, the proceeds of which go toward supporting the Library. In some cases, if a truly rare title is donated, these will be added to the library’s collection. 

The above address is for their main building, but there are numerous drop-offs throughout the city making donating as easy as possible. Contact your local drop-off here for their specific opening hours.

A whopping 19 locations in and around Pittsburgh means there’s no excuse to not utilize their drop-off points. Chances are there’s at least one on or near your daily commute. Their mission is to engage the community in literacy and learning, and your donated books are a fantastic way to support that.

Due to COVID-19 related circumstances, they are currently not accepting donations. Keep an eye on their website for updates.

carnegie library pittsburgh

📸 Wikimedia Commons


Book ‘Em

Location: Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue PA 15224
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00am-4:00 PM Sunday sessions available (check website)
Donation Receipt: No
Website: http://bookempa.org/books-we-need   

How to Donate

This non-profit organization sends reading and educational materials to prisoners across Pennsylvania. They have specific criteria for their books, but as long as you’re not donating religious texts, books that have been marked or spiral bound editions. Books which contain names written in the front will have that page redacted or removed, and though they prefer paperback, hardback text books will be accepted. They aren’t picky about titles but they do have a wishlist for the books they need the most.

Book ‘Em is dedicated to improve the quality of life for the incarcerated, and believe that education is an integral part of rehabilitation. Ex-offenders who are given access to books and other educational resources are less likely to reoffend and so helping this cause allows you to take part in improving society.


Livy’s Library

Locations: City Grows 5208 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 OR Roboto 5106 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Hours: 10am – 7pm
Donation Receipt: No
Website: http://livyslibrary.weebly.com/donate-books.html    

How to Donate

This fantastic organization ships age-appropriate children’s books to Pittsburgh area children for FREE! To support this brilliant initiative, children’s books of every genre can be donated at either of the drop off locations above. Your books are then added to the program where every child who signs receives one age-appropriate book per month in the mail.

Livy even includes a handy form on the site to arrange collections from your home – so there’s no excuse not to donate to this worthy cause!


Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

Location: 214 N. Lexington St. Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Hours: 10:00 AM-7:00 PM
Donation Receipt: No
Website: http://pccr.org/donate 

How to Donate

A more niche place to donate, this center specializes in arts and crafts, meaning they’re looking for books about arts, crafts or DIY (though they do accept vintage books too).

Though they are only a small operation, their volunteers advocate the benefits of learning through creativity.

Due to COVID-19 related circumstances, they are currently not accepting donations. Keep an eye on their website for updates.


Where To Donate Books in Pittsburgh: The Spark Notes

  • University of Pittsburgh 
  • The Mt. Lebanon Book Cellar
  • Carnegie Library
  • Book ‘Em
  • Livy’s Library
  • Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

Now there’s no excuse not to have a clear-out of the volumes gathering dust. There’s plenty of places and worthy causes to donate your books to in Pittsburgh.