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Running a Successful Book Drive

Before your book drive begins:

  • Build a network: Decide where your team will collect books. Good locations include the office, small retail businesses, and local schools. Each team member can choose one location to target. At each location ask for approval (see attached letter) and locate boxes in a highly visible area.
  • Select books: Decide what books will be collected. Often, people donate books that are familiar from childhood but not necessarily appropriate for current audiences. Ask your local library for a list of recommended books. Also, the organization you're serving may have specific guidelines about the books they accept.
  • Organize logistics: A typical book drive lasts two-three weeks. The materials you will need include boxes, storage space for collected books, and flyers.
  • Plan a Kick-Off event: Kick-off your book drive with an event! You can host a party and ask each attendee to bring a book. You can partner with your faith group to request books at service. Consider alerting local media.

During your book drive:

  • Consider incentives: Motivate your friends and co-workers to donate by creating a competition or organizing a raffle. Keep track of which location gathers the greatest number books. Record which individual contributes the greatest number of books. Recognize the donors with certificates or awards.
  • Spread the word: Decide how people will be encouraged to participate. The most successful way to gather books is to ask your personal network to contribute. These requests will be most successful when made in person or by phone. Flyers and emails are useful, but less successful.

After your book drive ends:

  • Sort your books: Calculate the number of books you collected and sort the books according to the organization's guidelines.
  • Celebrate Report the total number of books you collected with all your participants. Thank your participants. Consider how you could do it better next time. Share your story on Serve.gov. Plan your next drive!

Additional resources

After your book drive ends:

  • American Library Association provides a guide to national book donation organizations.
  • Delicious connects you with local organizations in need of books.
  • American Library Association lists organizations that provide books to soldiers serving overseas.
  • Most libraries accept donated books. Search for your local library.

Additional tips on organizing book drives:

  • Heart of America offer tips for book drives at schools and accepts donations from across the country.
  • Page Ahead offers book drive tips for schools and offices and accepts donations in Washington State.

Additional tips on organizing book drives:

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