How can I sell or donate my books to the public or the Library of Congress

If you are interested in selling a book you own you could go to a member of the American Antiquarian Bookseller's Association or try to sell your item on one of the public sale or auction sites such as Ebay or Amazon. 

If you are considering donating the item, please consider various sized repositories in your area.  Larger research libraries such as state and university libraries are always interested in possible donations, and smaller institutions such as local libraries and historical societies may be grateful for donations as well.  Please remember that not all books fit into the collecting scope of all libraries. You will probably have more success contacting an institution with a special interest; for instance, historical books may be better received at a local historical society and older manuals may be a better fit in a university research library.   In most libraries, donations are a bit of a double-edged sword, as excited and grateful as an institution is to receive your books, please remember that cataloging, conservation efforts and housing all cost quite a bit of money and will be a added new expense.

 

Donating to the Library of Congress:

The Library of Congress welcomes inquiries about donations but unfortunately cannot accept everything. The first step is to search the Library's online catalog to see if offered item is already in the collections. LC advises prospective donors NOT to send the item(s), but instead, to send gift offers identifying the item(s) offered.  For books, the offer should include author, title, place and date of publication, publisher and edition statement, if other than first edition, or equivalent information for other formats.  The offer should also include an estimate of quantity and of physical condition of the proposed gift. Prospective donors of books published in the United States should be aware that the Library acquires many U.S. titles through copyright deposit. For more information, contact the U.S. Copyright Office. If a book is published outside the United States, please contact the appropriate Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access acquisitions division responsible for that geographic area. If the gift offer is a large collection of items or potentially complicated, please contact the Library's U.S./Anglo Division.   Also, see the Donation and Gifts Division of the Library of Congress.

Selling to the Library of Congress:

The Library of Congress has purchase arrangements with book dealers around the world for newly published U.S. and foreign material.  If you have an item for sale, contact the appropriate Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access acquisitions division chief based on the country in which the item was published.

We hope that this is helpful; If not, please feel free to submit your question to begin a conversation with a Reference Librarian. 


Last Updated: Jun 24, 2020
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Send written correspondence to:

Rare Book and Special Collections Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20540-4740