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 and Chinese books for adults and children (fiction and non-fiction), magazines like Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, and Young Scientists, comics, educational toys and flashcards.
Where/How Dignity Mama kiosks are located at National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and Sengkang General Hospital. (The kiosk at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is temporarily closed till further notice.) Fill up this form to arrange to drop off your books, and a Dignity Mama manager will be in touch.
2. Books Beyond Borders
While challenging himself to solo backpacking through Nepal in 2017, Randall discovered a world far from the comforts he knew growing up in Singapore. On his return, he was inspired to start Books Beyond Borders. The idea was to sell gently-read books to raise funds for educational projects in rural places needing a literacy boost.
Donate Old and new English books for children and adults (fiction and non-fiction) that are still in good condition.
Where/How Pack your preloved books into a recycled box and contact them to arrange a pick-up. You can also help by purchasing books!
(See also: Unorthodox Dad Gives up High-flying Career to Help Fight Poverty in Myanmar)
3. 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).
Where/How Due to COVID-19, they have suspended collections for the time being, but plan to start again in 2021. Stay tuned to their website and Facebook page for updates.
4. 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. Since 1983, the project has helped over 280,000 needy students save in textbook expenses, through the collection of about 5.5 million textbooks. This year’s donation period is from 29 October to 30 November 2020.
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 encyclopaedia are also welcome.
Where/How Drop off at 77 FairPrice stores islandwide, including FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, Warehouse Club, selected FairPrice supermarkets, and FairPrice Xpress stores at Esso service stations. Visit their website for more details.
5. Marymount Youth Network Book Donation Drive 2020
Marymount Youth Network invites you to share the joy of knowledge with those who may not have the privilege of choosing the books they own. Just make sure there are no scribbles or torn pages. The donation period is from 1 November to 13 December 2020.
Donate Gently-used primary school and secondary school textbooks, as well as storybooks.
Where/How Drop off at Marymount Community Club, 191 Sin Ming Avenue, and Thomson Community Club, #01-126, 233 Bishan Street 22. Visit their Facebook page for updates.
(See also: Best FREE Book Apps for Kids)
6. Sony’s South Africa Mobile Library Project (SAMLP)
For 13 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 Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, this year’s edition will be held over till 2021. Stay tuned to Sony Singapore’s website and Facebook page for updates!
7. 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.
Where/How The Migrant Library is located at TWC2 Dayspace on Level 2, 1C Rowell Road. Call Mr Zilani at 82241290 or email migran[email protected] before heading down, and check their Facebook page for updates.
8 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.
Where/How To donate books, contact the founder Zakir via WhatsApp at 93574181 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. Alternatively, you can do so via the Facebook page.
(See also: Teaching Kids to be Kind: The Hows and Whys)
9. [email protected]
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 and visit their Facebook page for updates.
Where/How The Goodwill Store drop-off points are located at #01-09, 5 Delta Avenue, and #01-131, 50 Hoy Fatt Road. Take a photo of the items you wish to donate and email [email protected] before stopping by.
10. 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 Plus @ NTUC Health Senior Activity Centre, #01-29, 71 Redhill Road.
11. 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.
(See also: 7 Easy Steps to a Zero-Waste, Eco-Friendly Household in Singapore)
12. 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.
Where/How Due to COVID-19, EcoBank has suspended all volunteer activities. Keep an eye on the event page on EcoBank’s website or Facebook page for updates on the next collection drive.
13. 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.
Where/How Join the Facebook group and/or Telegram channel. Simply make a post about what you wish to share, and those who are interested can get in touch.
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.
(See also: Helping a Child with Dyslexia Read Better)
15. 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. The next SRRFM is on 25 November. Visit their Facebook page to book your space and learn more.
16. 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.
17. 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.
(See also: 10 Super Kid-friendly Libraries in Singapore which have more than just books)
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. Their requirements may change now and again, especially due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation. 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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