How do you get "Free Books"?

As we all know, most of our Church Libraries are operating with little or no money at all to buy books, supplies, etc.

I'm wondering, how do you all get free books? We get donations but most of what we get we already have or can't use in a church library.

I know you can get free books from a publisher by reviewing books but I don't have the time, energy, or want to, to do that.

Any ideas you have will be very much appreciated.










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  • I want to thank you all for taking the time to help me with my question about free books. I'm sorry for the late reply but was in a car accident during the summer and just now getting back to normal, what-ever that means.

    Thanks again so very much.

    • I hope you're doing much better, now. 

      Our library has been built primarily on donations. We've a thrift store near by that is Christian based, and so we find treasures there. On Mondays they have 1/2 off.  

      I also pass on parts of donations we can't use to the same thrift store.

      Leadership Wish list --- Dec/Jan 

      I'm planning to touch base with our Pastoral / Elder Leadership & their wives (who all love books) & ask their 3 top picks for what they wish we had in our library collection. From their library wish list I plan to open up opportunity for individuals in our church family to purchase or give to the church library. 

      I'm not sure if this is totally in line with what you originally asked, but hope it may help spur more ideas. 

      Linda S 

  • You might try to find out if there are any larger church libraries in your area which might be weeding, or which receive donations they can't use.

    Thrift stores - not free, but cheap. If they are run by a church or other Christian organization, there is a higher chance they'll have Christian books.

  • Work with your local Christian Bookstore to either create a "wish List" or actually "borrow" the books for a day or two. Advertise in your church newsletter, bulletin, website, etc. that on _____day (chose a holiday like Mother's Day, Veteran's Day, etc.) you will be offering books to be purchased and donated in memory/honor of Mother's or veterans or whatever. Folks will either choose from the list or from the actual collection of books you have on display from the bookstore, pay, and fill out a "donated in memory/honor" sticker to be placed in the books. This way you are getting new books that you actually want in your collection and you are giving people an opportunity to invest in your library while honoring a loved one. I would suggest doing this perhaps only twice a year, but rotate which holidays you focus on. Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day or even birthdays are awesome opportunities to host this type of activity. Of course, run this by your church board before embarking on this project, but it is a great way to grow your collection.

  • List your duplicate titles on and use the credits you get to request other titles you need

  • It would not be free books, per se, but encouraging folks to give memorial donation of funds can add to your bank account.  I have been at my library long enough that folks trust me to get good books (plus the library has a separate checking account so having to see the financial secretary for everything is not an issue).  However, if some would rather choose themselves, I can make up a wishlist and let them choose from that.

  • Hi, Janet,

    I can usually find some items at the local public libraries' sales for $2 for hardcover and $1 for softcover. Not free, but more within our budgets. 

    Make friends with any bookstores that you have in your area. They may receive freebies from publishers that they cannot use.

    We, too, receive donations that we already have or can't use.  Is there a way that we can something on this site to let other members know what books we have available for other librarians, or for that matter, specific books that we are looking for that are not easily available or at rare book prices???

    Blessings, Martha

    • Our public library is in a remodeling phase so their books for sale is not up and running.

      That's a good idea about freebies from publishers. We only have one Christian bookstore in town so I'll ask.

      I thought about doing a "book swap" between fellow church librarians but I'm not sure if that will be received or not. 

      Thanks again.

  • The Church Library Conference is a wonderful place to get free books. Most attendees bring books that are duplicates or books that they pull from their libraries that are downsizing. We usually have a couple of boxes when we go. Books are put on tables, and you can browse and take as many as you want for your church library!

    • Dear Lynn,

      Thanks for getting back with me.

      Unfortunately, in Florida, we don't have a Church Library Conference anymore. We would meet with fellow church librarians for 5 days, have classes, get ideas, fellowship, and not have to worry about what to cook.

      We do have a small one that meets, but only once a year and it's just for a few hours.

      Thanks again!


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