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 outside the Central Library Friend’s Store, on the main floor across from the Checkout Desk. Ask a staff person or volunteer if you need a cart for assistance.
  • Very large donations can be brought to the loading dock on the 10th Street side of the Central Library on weekdays between 4 – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Ring the doorbell, and a staff member will help you unload and issue a receipt. Please do not leave books outside or near the parking garage elevator. Volunteers are unable to assist at other times.

What kinds of donations does the Library accept?

  • Hardback books
  • Children’s books
  • DVDs and audiobooks on CD
  • Music CDs
  • Foreign language books
  • Classic literature
  • Older books (hardback or softbound) in fields such as art, architecture, history, militaria, cookbooks, Afro-Americana, philosophy, science, math, crime, local interest, education, sports, biography, nature or performing arts
  • Other media such as phonograph records (LPs), computer games and sheet music
  • 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 DigestBon Appetite, Gourmet or other cooking magazines, and all magazines published before 1960.
  • Academic, scientific, medical, or similar professional journals. A local university library is most likely to be interested.
  • Travel books by AAA, Fodor, Frommer, etc older than five years
  • Medical, legal and computer books older than ten years
  • Tax books
  • School textbooks that are no longer used
  • Consumers’ guides older than 3 years
  • Discarded library books
  • Multi-volume sets of encyclopedias cannot be accepted. 1-2 volume specialized encyclopedias are desirable.
  • Audiocassettes (books on tape or music)
  • Computer software (games) on 5 ¼ or 3 ½ inch disks
  • 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