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Giving Away Old Books

Sally White

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It's that time of year -- time to clean out the inventory to make room for next year's great projects! But what to do with the old stuff -- boxes of this book or that one which no longer are true representations of our business and our message. I hate to just throw 'em in the landfill or use 'em in the outdoor firepit. Any creative ideas for disposing of them where they will be used and appreciated?

-- Beth Terry

A friend of mine who volunteers at both a homeless shelter and a women's domestic violence shelter asked several of us traveling folks if we had any of "those little bottles you get in the hotels..." Boy did I! I had no idea how many I had squirreled away. I also had shampoo and other sundry items that I used once and didn't like. She said to remember that women who run to those shelters usually do so with the clothes on their backs and whatever is in their purses... So they could use everything.

So, I loaded up two grocery bags full of stuff I don't need or want. On the way to the car I passed those -- you all have them -- boxes of books and products that really don't work anymore. On a whim, I tossed two cases in my car along with the other stuff.

When I handed over the grocery bags, she was delighted. When I gave her two cases of books, she started to cry. She said, "You don't know how much this means. If there's anything these people need, it's hope."

Your "doorstops" in the garage really are boxes full of hope. Better to have them lift a few souls than be sold for a buck at the dollar store.

-- Glory Borgeson

Depending on the subject matter, books can be given to women's shelters, prisons (through organizations such as Prison Fellowship or through a local church that has a relationship with a warden), and certain organizations that serve homeless people (such as those that help them with job skills).

-- Marsha Petrie Sue

I just gave a bunch of audio recordings to the Girl Scouts. I also had some relationship CD's (Dating Dynamics) that I gave to a women's shelter. They were both thrilled to receive them!

-- Ann Elliott

Depending upon the product, consider donating them to after-school programs, Boys and Girls Club, places that teach literacy to adults, and churches that have outreach ministries.

-- Maggie Milne

Print labels that read "This book is yours to keep. Enjoy. Courtesy of www.yoursite.com."

Distribute via not-for-profit groups who usually have a resource library. Women's crisis centers, school boards, United Way have all been receptive. Some small coffee shops offer a selection of books on site. Most are delighted to receive your excess or out of date books.

-- Sandra Schrift

Consider the following:

  1. Donate to your library or a school library
  2. Bring to your NSA chapter and give away
  3. Sell on eBay
  4. Break down into chapters and create e-books to sell on line

-- Lion Goodman

There is a program called The Prison Library Project. They accept books and distribute them to prisons. Prisoners can certainly use self-help books!

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions