Friends of the Arlington Public Library

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Donating Materials

Can I donate my used books, music or movies to the library?

Yes! Read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for details:

Donation FAQ

What does the Library do with my donations?

  • Friends of the Arlington Public Library Book Sales  – The Friends sort and sell most other donations, and use the proceeds to support library services. The Friends hold two mammoth book sales annually in spring and fall in the parking garage of the Central Library. Used materials are also sold daily at all library locations.
  • The Library Collection – Usually only books published in the current year are added to the Library’s collection.

Where should I bring my donations?

  • Small donations are accepted at all Library locations during open hours.
  • Donations up to 5 boxes per day can be deposited on the blue carts just inside the back (parking lot side) entrance at Central Library.  Smaller quantities of books can be placed directly inside the donation bin. Ask a staff person or volunteer if you need a cart for assistance.
  • Donation receipts are available at all Library locations, at the Service Desk.
  • Very large donations can be brought to the Central Library loading dock on weekdays between 10 and 5 p.m. The loading dock is accessible from the parking lot, just off of 10th Street. Assistance in unloading is available between 4 – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ring the doorbell, and a staff member will help you unload and issue a receipt. Volunteers are unable to assist at other times.
  • Please do not leave donations in any other areas of the Library or outside the building.

What kinds of donations does the Library accept?

  • Hardback and paperback books
  • Children’s and teen books
  • DVDs and recorded books on CD
  • Music and instructional CDs
  • Foreign language books
  • Classic literature
  • Fiction and non-fiction (hardback or softbound) in all subject areas, including sciences, social sciences, fine arts, and humanities, plus local interest, home improvement, crafts, cooking, and performing arts.
  • Other media such as phonograph records (LPs), computer games, sheet music, board games, and jigsaw puzzles.
  • The Center for Local History, the community archives at the Central Library, is particularly interested in original materials related to Arlington’s history, such as documents, maps, papers, histories, etc.  If you have historical materials to donate, please call 703-228-5966.

Please do not donate:

  • Books that are moldy, mildewed, food-stained, heavily highlighted, or falling apart. Materials previously stored in basements or garages need special checking. If they smell, they can’t sell.
  • Most magazines more than a year old (or three months old for weekly magazines).  Exceptions: We do accept back copies of Architectural Digest, cooking magazines, and all magazines published before 1960.
  • Academic, scientific, medical, or similar professional journals. A local university library is more likely to be interested.
  • Frequently revised travel books like Fodor and Frommers that are older than five years
  • Medical books, and legal, tax, computer, financial advice books older than five years
  • School textbooks that are no longer used
  • Consumers’ guides older than 3 years
  • Discarded library books
  • Multi-volume sets of encyclopedias cannot be accepted. However, 1-2 volume specialized encyclopedias are desirable.
  • Audiocassettes (books on tape or music)
  • Computer software and games that are obsolete
  • Videocassette (VHS) tapes

Are donations tax deductible?

Personal property donated to the Friends of the Arlington Library may be deducted as charitable donations in kind.  Donors may request a receipt from any desk that is staffed or from volunteers at the Loading Dock on the 10th Street side of the Central Library.  The Library and its volunteers do not estimate the value of donations, but a tax professional or the IRS itself can advise.

More Questions about Donating?

Call the Friends of the Library donation room at 703-228-6347.
or contact the Friends via email at