Donations & Gifts

The Library cannot directly receive monetary contributions other than those specifically designated for the Gift Fund. Other monetary donations should be made to the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library. The Friends use these donations and the proceeds from its fundraising events to purchase special items that the library could not afford to purchase from its municipally budgeted funds. The Bellingham Public Library welcomes the donation of books and other items of a permanent nature to its collection. These gifts are accepted with the understanding that each will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria and objectives by which purchased materials are judged prior to addition to the permanent collection.

Over the years, the library’s collection has been enriched by the donation of books, prints, periodicals and other materials which could not have been acquired otherwise. However, not all donated materials are added to the collection. These donations may be offered to other libraries or institutions as a gift or exchange or may be sold by the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library at one of its fundraising events.

Memorial gifts will be accepted under the same conditions. All accepted memorial gift books, however, will contain a bookplate noting the name of the donor and the individual in whose name the gift was made..

The Friends use these donations and the proceeds from its fundraising events to purchase special items that the library could not afford to purchase from its budgeted funds. The library cannot give monetary appraisals of any items donated. IRS regulations and the Tax Reform Act of 1984 (section 155a) state that the appraiser must not be in the library that receives the item.

Book & Other Material Donation Guidelines 

The library receives many thousands of donations of books and other library materials each year. Donated items that fill a need in the library collection are added, but most donations go directly to the book sale. We have learned from long experience what sells and what doesn’t. We must be selective because of storage limitations and the labor involved in sorting so many items.

  • Book donations MUST be brought inside the library during the library’s open hours.
  • PLEASE do not leave donations outside the library or in the book drop.
  • Donations are limited to 2 grocery store bags, or one moving box or plastic bin per visit. 
  • If you have larger collections, you will need to call to make an appointment for a scheduled drop off time. 
  • Donations of more than 10 books must be in a bag or box.
  • Items must be “gift worthy” and free of odor and mold and MUST not be damaged, dirty, marked, worn, torn or in otherwise poor condition.  Ask yourself, “Would I buy this?”

We accept:

  • Hardcover and paperback books in very good to excellent condition.  Generally, this only applies to books published in the past 10 years.  Hardcover fiction books MUST have book jackets.  Paperback books should not have cracked spines.
  • Commercially published DVDs and CDs in their ORIGINAL undamaged packaging.
  • Items that are in clean, salable condition.

We do not accept:

  • Boxes that have been moved directly from long term storage to the library, or boxes of books that have not been properly inspected by the donor to insure they meet our donation criteria.
  • Books left outside the library or in the library book drop.
  • Damaged books (broken bindings, torn or missing pages, soiled, musty, moldy, smoke or water damaged or with writing in the text)
  • Magazines
  • Readers Digest Condensed Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • VHS Tapes or Audio Cassettes
  • Music CDs or DVDs that are not in their original case
  • Non-commercially produced media
  • Workbooks or study guides that are partially or wholly filled in
  • Computer programs or travel guides that are more than 3 years old
  • Textbooks of any kind
  • Bibles or prayer books

To reiterate:  we cannot use any items in poor condition, with yellowed pages, highlighted text, or mildew and odors. We also cannot use encyclopedia or reference sets, magazines, condensed books, or textbooks. We will not add these items to our collection and our experience shows that people will not buy them at book sales. If you are bringing them to us because you don’t have the heart to discard them, we just discard them for you, and you’ve wasted all that energy lugging heavy materials to the library! It is okay to recycle books that have lived the good life, given you pleasure, but are no longer in demand or useful! Really, it is!

Please be aware that there are other locations you can dispose of books that do not meet donation guidelines.

  • All books that do not meet our donation guidelines, most likely won’t meet donation guidelines of other organizations. 
  • They CAN be recycled in your town issued recycling bins.
  • In addition, there is a book recycling bin at the Bellingham Recycling Center at 119 South Maple Street.
  • There is also a book donation bin at the Bellingham Senior Center, 40 Blackstone Street.