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Book Donations are welcome at Main Library

Portland Public Library is accepting donations of gently used books and DVDs at the MAIN LIBRARY BRANCH ONLY. Books may be left at the loading dock on Elm Street. We appreciate donated books in boxes or in paper bags – PLEASE DO NOT DROP TRASH BAGS FILLED WITH BOOKS. Thank you for supporting your Library.

The Library accepts certain book donations for use in our bookstore and book sales to help fund new library materials for our collections as well as programs such as our Summer Reading initiatives.

We gratefully accept the following items, when they are both timely and in good condition:

  • Adult hardcover fiction or non-fiction
  • Adult paperbacks
  • Children’s hardcover picture books or chapter books
  • DVDs, complete with all inserts
  • Graphic novels
  • Teen hardcover chapter books or non-fiction

We regret that we are UNABLE TO ACCEPT the following items. In those instances when we receive them, they are responsibly recycled.

  • Audio books
  • Books with any mold, mildew, markings, or noticeable wear
  • CDs, Blu-Rays, or video cassettes
  • Children’s board books
  • Encyclopedias, dictionaries, or other reference books
  • Magazines
  • Maps or travel books
  • Puzzles, games, or other ephemera
  • Textbooks
  • Videogames

Non-profits in the Portland area who may accept these donations include Goodwill of Northern New England or the Salvation Army.

If you have questions about whether we can accept your items, please email our Development Office ( or call 207-871-1700.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I donate books?

Leave your donation at the Main Library’s Elm Street loading dock at any time. If your donation is over 4 boxes, please call ahead at 207-871-1700.

What happens to the materials I donate?

Most donations are sold in our bookstore or annual book sale, and the proceeds are used to fund library programs. We do not regularly add donated items to our collections as each item in circulation requires intensive processing. Historical items relevant to Portland, Maine may be added to our archives. If you have something special or rare beyond the scope of Portland that you are hoping to preserve, please consider finding a collector or archive that may be better equipped to handle your item.

Will I get a thank-you letter or tax receipt?

We do not send acknowledgment letters for donations of books, and by law PPL is not permitted to assign a value to any such gift. However, we do supply forms that you can complete yourself to document your material donations for tax purposes. These forms are available during business hours inside our Main Library loading dock or from our Development Office.

What if I have a non-book item I would like donate?

If you have items that do not fit into the categories above, please call PPL’s Administration Office at 207-871-1700 to see if we can make good use of your item or whether another non-profit would benefit more from your gift.

I have an old book, map, or piece of ephemera. Would the Library be interested?

If you have items of historical significance that might be suitable for our archival collection, please call our Development Office at 207-871-1700. We can discuss the nature of your items with you to determine whether they would be appropriate for our special collection holdings.