SingaporeMotherhood | Family Fun
18 Places to Donate Books and More in Singapore (2023 Update)
Preloved novels collecting dust, self-help books you’ll never read again, not to mention children’s books your kids have outgrown and 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, organisations, and social platforms where you can donate books in Singapore.
BOOK DONATION DRIVES & POP-UP EVENTS
1. Sony’s South Africa Mobile Library Project (SAMLP)
The Sony Group in Singapore organises the SAMLP to help positively impact South African children’s education and future. Donated books are sent to South Africa and transported in mobile libraries to local schools, giving students and teachers an opportunity to borrow the books. Now in its 14th edition, this year’s donation fortnight starts on Monday!
Donate English language books suitable for children and youth up to 15 years old, not including encyclopaedia, reference books, assessment books, textbooks, and magazines.
Where/How Drop your books off at the Sony Store located at #02-28/37, 313@Somerset, from 18 September to 1 October 2023, 11am to 9pm daily. Visit their website for more information.
2. Declutter & Donate by Peace of Art
Peace of Art is a group of volunteers who have come together to raise funds for Singapore Red Cross’ (SRC) Young Hearts programme. This 100 per cent charity initiative culminates in the most exciting preloved bazaar event of the year in November. But in the meantime, they need your action. Declutter your home and help empower underprivileged children from public rental housing.
Donate Children’s books, kidswear, toys, luxury goods, and stylish fashion in good condition. Brand new items are welcome too.
Where/How Drop off your items at the SRC office located at #02-08, YWCA Singapore from now till 30 September, and at the SRC drop-off at #07-23, 51 Cuppage Road from 1 to 15 October. The collection points are open from 10am to 4pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. More information here.
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. Since 1983, the project has helped over 280,000 needy students through the collection of over 6.8 million textbooks. Stay tuned for updates on the donation drive that takes place every November.
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 all FairPrice stores islandwide, including FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, Warehouse Club, FairPrice supermarkets, and FairPrice Xpress stores at Esso service stations. Visit their website for more details.
4. Marymount Youth Network Book Donation Drive
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. They conduct book donation drives once or twice a year, with the most recent one in July 2023.
Donate Children’s fiction, textbooks, and SingLit are some of the themes that may change from event to event.
Where/How Drop off at Marymount Community Club office at 191 Sin Ming Avenue. Visit their Facebook page for updates on their next event.
5. 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 take place once every month or two. The last SRRFM was on 9 August. Check their Facebook page for the next event and to learn more.
PERMANENT PLACES TO DONATE BOOKS
6. 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. Check their website for what they do and don’t accept, which changes from time to time.
Where/How Pack your preloved books into a recycled box and arrange a pick-up. Alternatively, make an appointment to drop them off at #03-01E, Kong Beng Industrial Building, 41 Jalan Pemimpin. You can also help by shopping at their bookstore, located at #01-08, 33 Erskine Road.
7. 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 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 Changi General Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (above), National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General 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.
8. 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, accessories, furniture, kitchenware, collectibles, sporting gear, musical instruments, and tools.
Where/How You can donate preloved goods — and shop — at MINDS Shops located at 800 Margaret Drive and 30 Woodlands Ring Road. (The outlet at 29 Rosyth Road is currently closed for maintenance.) You can also shop at MINDS Shop Plus at #01-29, 71 Redhill Road, and online at the MINDS eShop.
9. 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, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Singhalese, and other South Asian languages. Preferably novels, poetry, history, and motivational books.
10. Red Shield Industries by The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army runs programmes and social services to help meet the needs of the underprivileged in the community. Its social enterprise arm, Red Shield Industries, recycles donations-in-kind to generate funds through its 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, bags, 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.
An online thrift store, Thryft is dedicated to recirculating quality books and clothes responsibly. It uses sustainable packaging and carbon-neutral shipping, and also contributes credits from books you donate and an additional 1% of profits to non-profit organisations. It also just launched an offline store, complete with children’s reading corner, at Peace Centre for six months.
Donate Any English titles, including fiction and non-fiction, children’s books, tertiary-level textbooks, religious texts, reference books, and dictionaries, as well as clothes in good condition.
Where/How Drop off your items at #02-08, Peace Centre or #02-00, 23 Kian Teck Road (books only). For over 200 items, you can arrange for a pick-up service for a flat $15 fee. You can also choose to trade in your items for Thryft credits. More details on their website.
FACEBOOK GROUPS & MOBILE APPS
12. Books Don’t Throw (Singapore)
At 77,888 members and counting, Books Don’t Throw (Singapore) is the largest local book-sharing Facebook group. The group admins hope to promote reading, reduce waste, and spread kindness by giving books a second lease of life. The result is a friendly community where members often share reading-related memes or tips on maintaining books.
Donate Any and all books, magazines, even music scores. School test papers and enrichment centre materials — as well as disrespectful or spammy behaviour — are a huge no-no, however.
Where/How Join the Facebook group and post photos and details of what you want to barter or give away. When other group members indicate their interest, you can make mutual arrangements for collection.
13. BUY SELL KIDS BOOKS @ Sg Book Swap
This Facebook group is specifically for parents in Singapore who have preloved children’s books to sell. You can also choose to swap books your children no longer read for other titles from fellow parents. Of course, you might simply prefer to ‘bless’ someone else with the books.
Donate Any books suitable for children. No toys or educational aids, except flashcards.
Where/How Join the Facebook group and post photos and price of what you want to sell or swap. When interested buyers comment on your post, you can make mutual arrangements to complete the transaction.
14. 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.
15. Share-Your-Book @ South West x Sharetings
This is an initiative by South West CDC to encourage residents to donate their preloved storybooks to community libraries or reading corners in the district. For every donation, earn recycling points on the ALBA STEP UP mobile app to redeem vouchers or discounts from participating retailers. Alternatively, you can choose to bless others with the books directly via the Sharetings app.
Donate Any books that are in good condition.
Where/How Download the Sharetings mobile app and create an account (you don’t have to be a South West district resident). Click on the Share-Your-Book @ South West banner and submit your listing. Once accepted, you will receive an email on how to drop off your books. Or list them under the Books category to exchange with or give to other users. Find out more.
With over 7 million Olio-ers worldwide, Olio is one of the most popular freecycling apps in Singapore. While most know it as a food-sharing platform, it also has a non-food section, where you can give and get anything just about anything you can think of. Pass on what you don’t need to someone who does, and help save the earth while you’re at it!
Donate Books, clothes, toys, food, and anything else you no longer need.
Where/How Download the Olio mobile app and create an account. Simply snap a photo of your items and post it with a pick-up location, then check your messages. Someone near you who’s interested will reach out.
17. Little Libraries
Many more community libraries continue to pop up at void decks in various neighbourhoods islandwide. Besides those run by Residents’ Committees (RC), many are set up by kindhearted individuals. Open to the public, anyone is welcome to borrow or exchange books. But as no one is obligated to return them, shelves may sometimes run dry. Hence this is another avenue via which you can donate books in Singapore.
Here’s a list of ‘little libraries’ that was kindly compiled by Simon Tay, one of the founders/admins of Books Don’t Throw (Singapore). Do note that it’s not exhaustive, and the information may change at any time. Do help by commenting on the post if you spot anything wrong or come across a new library that isn’t listed — it’s a community effort!
18. 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 have Book Exchange Corners. You can drop off your books at these dedicated shelves for fellow book lovers to pick up and enjoy.
- Ang Mo Kio Public Library
- Bedok Public Library
- Bishan Public Library
- Geylang East Public Library
- Jurong Regional Library
- Queenstown Public Library
- Toa Payoh Public Library
- Woodlands Regional Library
Before You Give…
Before you donate books or other preloved items to any organisation, check out their latest donation policies. It’ll give you a better idea of the types of books (and other items) that they need, especially since their requirements may change now and again. 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!
Featured image: Nik on Unsplash
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