As the year-end approaches, I thought that I would suggest a charitable donation option that's near and dear to my heart. If you have spare books or media products (software/CDs/DVDs/Audiobooks) lying around, consider donating them to your local library. Most libraries have Friends of the Library organizations that will sell your donated products, and use the money for library-related programs.
I volunteer for the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library, in Santa Clara, California. The Foundation and Friends is a non-profit organization dedicated to supplementing public funding to expand and enhance the Library's programs and services. The Friends group in particular raises funds by selling donated books. We sell the books in a bookstore inside the library, in regular book sales, and online. The money that we raise through these avenues is used to fund great activities like summer reading programs, new library cards for kids, adult literacy programs, and many others. At a recent meeting, the Foundation and Friends voted to fund eight requests like these from the Library totaling more than $20,000 and to establish three endowment funds. (The complete list is here.) The funds to fulfill all of these requests came from the proceeds from the used book sales.
In summary, library Friends organizations can do great things with your donated books. And you can get a tax deduction. So, if you have extra books or videos lying around your house collecting dust, and you would like to give them to a good cause, check to see if your library accepts donations. At our library, children's books and videos are particularly in demand, but any gently read books are welcome.