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. If you are interested in receiving donated books, 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  • Non-book material in outdated formats (e.g.: phonograph records, VHS tapes, music cassettes)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. This is a time consuming activity for our staff. We encourage donors to recycle books themselves and/or reach out to local non-profit community groups. 

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 donations

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

East Bay Children's Book Project

Can only accept new and gently used children’s books and do not take textbooks, religious books, magazines or dictionaries. Please call for more details: (510) 408-7323.

The Bookmark Bookstore

The Bookmark Bookstore needs books that are in good, saleable condition! We welcome your donations every day during our regular store hours. The Bookmark asks if you have more than 4 boxes, to please call and talk to a Manager (Sun-Fri) before bringing them to the store to ensure they have space available to accept them. If you need other options for donating books, please call the store during open hours (510-444-0473). Staff can provide you with a list of other places that accept donations.


Who can I contact for more information?

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


Looking for donated books?

When books are donated to the Oakland Public Library, or withdrawn from the Library collection using the OPL Collection Policy, usable books are provided to:

  • Friends of the Oakland Library and Branch Friends Groups
  • Free giveaways at Library branches and community events
  • Book sales
  • Schools
  • Day care centers
  • Hospitals
  • Art/craft organizations
  • Library programs

Are you or your organization interested in receiving books that the Library cannot use? Please contact Library Director Jamie Turbak ( OPL will do its best to match your needs to what is available.