The Library of Congress Surplus Books Program is a program from which many of this site’s readers could benefit.  It is not a fundraising idea, although it is possible that free books acquired through the program could be sold later (you would have to check to see if that is permitted).

The Library of Congress is the Government of the United States’ library and the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program is a program by which non-profit organizations can acquire free books.  When a book is published in the United States, publishers are required to send three copies to the Library of Congress for its collection.  Many publishers misunderstand this policy, however, and send an entire box of books.  The extra books are added to the assortment of books available in the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program collections and made available to non-profit organizations that are willing to send a representative to select, pack and remove books they would like.  This is great for libraries, schools, homeless shelters, hospices and other non-profit organizations.

Note: It is worth noting that one of the authors of this blog used to run a program that transferred surplus books from the Library of Congress to homeless shelters across the United States at no cost to the shelters.  He did this by convincing members of Congress from the respective homeless shelters’ districts to use their franking privileges (free shipping afforded to members of Congress) in order to ship the books.  He occasionally traveled to Washington, D.C., with letters from homeless shelters designating him as an official representative of the shelters where he then selected and packed the books and delivered them to his contacts in the appropriate members of Congress’ offices.  At that point, the members of Congress’ staffers would then put the members’ “free shipping seal” on the packages and off they went to homeless shelters in the members’ districts.  I imagine this is still possible, though, as a cautionary note, it did take some convincing to get members of Congress to authorize use of their franking privileges to ship books to homeless shelters.  The challenge was not really convincing the members of Congress’ staffers that the idea was sound and the process legitimate, but simply familiarizing the staff members with this Library of Congress program with which few are familiar (it operates fairly quietly out of a basement room in one of the Library of Congress buildings).  The bottom line: Where there is a will, there is likely a way to secure free books for your non-profit organization through the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program and not even have to pay shipping costs.  And remember, you have at least three chances at getting free shipping, as if you represent a US-based non-profit organization you have two senators and one member of the House of Representatives tasked with representing you.

See details about the Library Congress Surplus Books Program by clicking here.

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6 Responses to Free Books for Non-Profit Organizations

  1. [...] Free Books for Non-Profit Organizations with Fundraiser Ideas [...]

  2. Junior High shcool says:

    Hi,

    We are teachers of English as a second language here in Morocco in a rural area and we would like you to help us equip our school library with some books for beginners.

    We will also appreciate any information you can provide us with concerning centers and associations we can contact for this reason.We can send official documents of our our school to you or to any other association that can help us.

    Thank you in advance.

  3. Luke says:

    Hi!

    This link might be able to help: http://www.loc.gov/acq/surplus.html

    Good luck!

  4. geremew kumerag says:

    i am working in unversity liabrary so at my liabrary thare is not enough book available so pleas help

  5. Peach Brown says:

    SWCS is a 501c3 in Easton PA that has an Afterschool & Community Services component.
    We are in need of books to increase literacy among our youth and also books on effectively running our non-profit organization.

  6. CHANSA SAMANGWE says:

    Ponde HIV /AIDS Foundation is an organisation providing lifeskills based education to orphans and women and also people living with HIV ?We are asking for books from you.Please help us with books

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