Preloved novels collecting dust, self-help books you’ll never read again, not to mention your kids’ old textbooks that keep piling up. Wondering what to do with all these old books you no longer need but can’t bear to just throw away? Why not pass them on to those who can give them a new lease of life? In doing so, you can declutter your home and save the environment, while helping to improve the lives of others. Here’s a compilation of charities and organisations where you can donate books in Singapore.
1. Dignity Mama
An initiative by social enterprise Project Dignity, Dignity Mama stalls sell secondhand books, managed by young adults with special needs and their parents. The project equips special needs youth with the skills and confidence to run a business, and supports their caregivers too.
Donate English or Chinese books (fiction and non-fiction), magazines like Reader’s Digest and National Geographic, comics, books on arts and crafts, and encyclopedias.
Where/How Dignity Mama kiosks are located at National University Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Ng Teng Fong Hospital, and Sengkang General Hospital. Fill up this form to arrange to drop off your books, and a Dignity Mama manager will be in touch.
2. Help a Child – Donate a Book
A group of kind-hearted souls got together to bring reading and books to underprivileged children in developing Asian countries. They hope that literacy will lead to further education and job prospects. They collect books and educational materials to help schools and orphanages in places from Myanmar to Sri Lanka.
Donate Old and new English books, from preschool to primary level books teaching the alphabet, to storybooks and educational flash cards, CDs or DVDs (e.g. Barney and Friends, Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder).
3. FairPrice Share-A-Textbook Project
Part of NTUC FairPrice’s ongoing effort to help needy families provide for their children’s education, it also promotes recycling and encourages thriftiness. Every year, it collects and distributes used textbooks that are still in good condition to disadvantaged students and families. This year’s donation period is from 29 October to 30 November 2019.
Donate Gently-used school textbooks which are still in good condition. Do check the approved textbook list beforehand to find out if your textbooks are still part of the current syllabus. Assessment books, storybooks and encyclopaedias are also welcome.
Where/How Drop off at FairPrice stores islandwide, including FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, Warehouse Club and FairPrice Xpress stores at Esso service stations; and Tampines Changkat, Tampines North and Tampines West Community Clubs. Visit their website for more details.
4. Sony’s South Africa Mobile Library Project (SAMLP)
For 12 consecutive years, the Sony Group of Companies in Singapore has organised the SAMLP to help make a positive impact on South African children’s education and future. Donated books are sent to South Africa where they will be transported in mobile libraries that visit local schools, giving students and teachers an opportunity to borrow the books.
Donate English-language children’s books.
Where/How This year’s project was held from 26 October to 10 November 2019, but stay tuned to the website for next year’s event.
5. Migrant Library Singapore
Created for Singapore’s many migrant workers, Migrant Library Singapore aims to spread the joy of reading. It also strengthens community bonding by conducting literary activities such as poetry readings and book discussions. From time to time, it takes a Mobile Library to dormitories, and helps create Readers’ Clubs in them too.
Donate Books in Bengali, Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai and Chinese. (They have enough English books.)
Where/How The Migrant Library is located at TWC2 Dayspace on Level 2, 1C Rowell Road. Call Mr Zilani at 82241290 before heading down, and check their Facebook page for updates.
6. One Bag One Book
Award-winning poet Zakir Hossain Khokan, himself a Bangladeshi migrant worker, created a book-sharing initiative for his fellow foreign workers. As its name suggests, his aim for One Bag One Book is to put a book in every worker’s bag. Through this, he hopes to offer his peers a source of comfort — and improved literacy — while far from home.
Donate Books in English, Bengali, Tamil, Bahasa Indonesia, preferably novels, poetry, history and motivational books.
7. Blessings in a Bag (BIAB)
Founded by former radio host Emily Teng, Blessings in a Bag partners communities, orphanages, homes, and schools across Asia. The goal? To provide disadvantaged children with what they need to thrive and feel safe, valued, and happy. Blessings in a Bag collects and distributes books, toys and other supplies to families in rural communities.
Donate Children’s educational or story books. They also welcome donations of children’s clothes, arts and crafts supplies, jigsaw puzzles, school bags, and blankets. View their wishlist, which is regularly updated based on the needs and requests of the communities they serve.
Where/How BIAB’s headquarters are at #08-06A Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road. Check for specific drop-off timings listed here before heading down.
8. Hope Centre Singapore
A non-profit voluntary welfare organisation, Hope Centre runs meaningful social services and programmes for the community. It also accepts donations-in-kind of items to be used in their Youth and Seniors Centres, or distributed to underprivileged households.
Donate Children’s story books, assessment books, games, stationery and school bags. You’ll also find various other items from furniture to food on their wishlist, which is updated regularly. Editor’s note (9 January 2020): Hope Centre is currently not accepting donations of books; please refer to their wishlist for updates.
Where/How Deliver the items directly to Level 3, 806 King George’s Avenue during office hours. Contact them prior to delivery.
The South Central Community Family Service Centre provides support to low-income and vulnerable families in the community. One of its initiatives is the Goodwill Store, where the public can donate food and preloved items such as books and clothes. These will be given to those in need to help them tide over tough times.
Donate Food rations, books, toys, clothes and other preloved items. See these guidelines for what not to give.
10. New2U Thrift Shop
The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is the national coordinating body of women’s organisations in Singapore. It also runs the New2U Thrift Shop where they sell unwanted items to raise money for charity. Proceeds help fund social initiatives such as Star Shelter, a refuge for survivors of domestic violence.
Donate Books and toys, clothing and shoes, bags and accessories, household items, crockery and utensils. New2U does not accept furniture, used electrical items, used towels and undergarments, or old cassette tapes and CDs.
11. MINDS Shop
The Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) runs four thrift stores named MINDS Shop. It offers their intellectually disabled clients pre-vocational training and employment in retail and customer service. Each store carries carefully selected preloved items that deserve a new lease of life.
Donate Books, baby equipment (high chair, car seats, etc), electronic gadgets, clothes, furniture, kitchenware, collectibles and tools. This comprehensive list explains what’s good and what’s not.
Where/How You can donate preloved goods — and shop — at MINDS Shops located at 800 Margaret Drive, 30 Woodlands Ring Road, and 29 Rosyth Road. You can also shop at MINDS Shop [email protected] Healthcare, #01-29, 71 Redhill Road.
12. Metta Welfare Association
In a bid to live the philosophy “waste not”, Metta Welfare Association is partnering with local recycling organisation, Richlight Trading Company. The public is encouraged to deposit preloved items in a recycling bin at Metta Building. Richlight will then match the total weight of recycled items in cash donations to fund Metta’s various projects.
Donate Books and newspapers, wearable clothing, belts and handbags. To donate groceries to low-income families or recycle used electronics, visit their website for details on those initiatives.
Where/How Place items in a plastic bag before dropping them into the recycling bin located in the basement car park at Metta Building, 32 Simei Street 1.
13. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army runs programmes and social services to help meet the needs of the underprivileged in the community. Their funds come from sales of secondhand items at their Family Thrift Stores. So if you have plenty of old books to spare and would like to contribute, consider donating them here.
Donate Hardback or paperback books. Besides books, you may also donate preloved toys, clothing, furniture, household goods and electronic devices.
Where/How Drop off your items at any of the Donation-In-Kind booths which are located all over the island. For bulkier items, you may arrange for a collection service. More details, including the locations of the booths, can be found here.
14. EcoBank Collection Drive
Every year, EcoBank (a joint initiative between City Developments Limited and Eco-Business) organises an islandwide collection drive for used items. These are sold at the annual EcoBank Bazaar. The event helps raise funds for various causes. Any unsold items are given to beneficiary organisations.
Donate Books, toys, clothes, electronics, household appliances, art, and accessories in good, resaleable condition.
15. School Kaki
Started by a group of parents, School Kaki is a Facebook group for those looking to share used school-related items. It has also spawned a Telegram channel. No exchange of money is permitted, as it is not a charity, but a platform for sharing and giving.
Donate Used textbooks, assessment books, uniforms, school bags and stationery. Anything a student needs is welcome.
16. United Square Book Exchange
Do you frequent United Square Shopping Mall, for shopping or perhaps because your kids have enrichment classes there? Have you noticed the Book Exchange located by the Concierge on Level 1? Yup, you can share your children’s old story books there for other kids to read!
Donate Preloved books for children.
Where/How Just drop off the books at the Book Exchange shelves by the Concierge, Level 1, United Square, 101 Thomson Road. Your kids can feel free to pick up someone else’s books too!
If you have no space for new books and no time to visit the library, Seekabook may be your answer. It’s a subscription platform that allows you to exchange your books with others of your choice from an online catalog. It’s much cheaper than buying new books, and you can keep them for life if you wish. The books are delivered to and collected from your doorstep!
Donate Any books are welcome, from kids’ story books and textbooks to general fiction and non-fiction.
Where/How Simply sign up for a subscription plan that suits you. To aid underprivileged students, the exchange of academic books is free. Seekabook will pick up the books you want to give and deliver the books that you choose.
18. Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM)
The SRRFM is a pop-up market where everything is really, really free. It aims to build community through the sharing of resources. If you have any items, services or skills that would benefit your local community — which you don’t mind giving away for free — you’re welcome to set up a stall.
Donate Items like books, toys or clothing. You can also offer your skills or services to others (like massages, tarot readings, yoga lessons, etc).
Where/How Different locations throughout Singapore, every two months. Visit their Facebook page to book your space and learn more.
19. Singapore Freecycle Network
Alternatively, you might consider freecycling your books. Freecycling refers to the act of giving away usable unwanted items to others who need them. The growing global movement has an active group in Singapore. Here, people with functional items they don’t need are matched with those who need them.
Donate Any item, including books, in good working condition.
Where/How Visit the group’s Facebook page and post a picture of the items you want to give away. Interested takers will then respond to the offer and make arrangements for collection.
20. Public Libraries
Did you know that you can even donate your preloved books at National Library Board libraries in Singapore? Many of our public libraries (except those in malls) have Book Exchange Corners. You can drop off your books at these dedicated shelves for fellow book lovers to pick up and enjoy.
Before You Give…
Before you donate books or other preloved items to any organisation, check out their donation policies so that you’ll have a better idea of the types of books (and other items) that they need. Also, check your items for wear and tear, and do your part to make volunteers’ jobs easier by organising and packing them in groups that go together. Happy giving!
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