Donating Books and Other Items

The Oakland Public Library regularly receives gifts of books and non-book material from our patrons.   If you are interested in donating money, please click here.

Donations must meet the same standard as purchased material:  be current in content and format, be in excellent physical (like new) condition, have either contemporary significance or permanent value, and be consistent with existing library collections. Please do not donate books with yellowed or missing pages, damaged spines, musty smells, stains, mildew, underlining or highlighting. 

Some examples of donations that the library encourages are

  • Current bestsellers (in excellent physical condition) in fiction and nonfiction
  • Large-print books in excellent physical condition
  • Popular or classic DVDs in excellent condition

Some examples of material that the library will not accept include

  • Travel guidebooks, computer books, or medical books 
  • Non-book material in outdated formats (e.g.: phonograph records, VHS tapes, music cassettes)
  • Almanacs or encyclopedia yearbooks
  • Abridged or condensed books or audio books
  • Book club editions
  • Toys
  • Magazines 

Exceptions to the above guidelines may be made for donations to specialty collections such as the Oakland History Room (238-3222) and AAMLO, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (637-0200).

Unused donations cannot be returned to the donor. At the library's discretion, they may be offered to the Friends of the Library for public sale, discarded, or disposed of in some other way. We encourage donors to recycle books themselves, as this is a time consuming activity for our staff.

The Library provides a receipt describing number and type of donated material. The Library cannot be responsible for the appraisal or valuation of donations for income tax or any other purposes.

Donations of children's and teen material are evaluated separately by Children's Services and Teen Services librarians and are subject to additional criteria. Contact your local library for further information.

Where to Bring Gifts

Main Library:

Books, CDs, and DVDs that meet the criteria listed above may be brought to the Main Library Reference Desk on the first floor during open hours. We accept the equivalent of no more than two shopping bags full of materials. No exceptions.

For larger donations, please contact the Bookmark Bookstore, which is run by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library, at 510-444-0473 or

Branch Libraries:

Each branch has different needs in regards to donations.  Please contact your local branch directly to find out if they accept donated materials. You can find a list of library locations here

Who can I contact for more information?

Andrew Demcak, Senior Collection Development Librarian, (510) 238-4704, or