How to Find Free Books for Your School or Classroom Library

by Andy Minshew


Building a school or classroom library can be difficult, especially if your school’s funding is low. Before you spend your own money on books, look into organizations that provide teachers with free classroom books. Many of these programs are open specifically to educators from schools with a demonstrated need to improve literacy access.

If you’re wondering how to get free books for your classroom, check out these eight educational programs. Application and eligibility information are provided so that you can apply for the donation programs that best suit your school’s needs.

Plus, check out these programs that offer  free books for kids and share them with the families in your classroom.

8 Free Book Donation Programs for Schools

First Book Book Bank

First Book is an organization that removes financial barriers to accessing books and school supplies. Through their Book Bank, educators who teach at an organization that meets the eligibility criteria can request free class sets of children’s books for their classroom, with no charge other than shipping and handling.

If they do not meet eligibility requirements, teachers can also purchase cheap book bundles from First Book.

How to Apply: Sign up for an account, then visit the Book Bank to see what is currently available.

Group of students sitting on library floor and reading

Book Trust

Book Trust is a nonprofit that offers free books for students in Title I schools to encourage a love of reading at school and at home.

How to Apply: If you are an educator who works in a Title I school, click here to learn more about the program and application process.

Kids Need to Read

Kids Need to Read provides free books for teachers who work at underfunded schools, libraries, or other organizations. On a rolling basis, educators can request book donations for their school or classroom.

How to Apply: Fill out an application here to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements and request book donations. This application form is closed four months during the year: May, July, November, and December.

Lisa Libraries

The Lisa Libraries program offers free book donations to underfunded schools, libraries, and other children’s organizations across the United States.

How to Apply: Applicants must write an email to the Lisa Libraries program with information about their organization, number of children served, and demonstrated need. You can view the eligibility criteria and application information here.

Library of Congress

Through the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program, educators can request free books for their school or classroom.

How to Apply: Follow the application instructions, which will walk you through submitting a donation request to the Library of Congress.

We Need Diverse Books in the Classroom

We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) provides free books to underfunded schools. As of 2022, WNDB in the Classroom has donated over 70,000 books to classrooms across the country.

How to Apply: Subscribe to their Off the Shelf newsletter to learn about and apply for current initiatives and giveaways.

teacher reading a book to students

Better World Books

Better World Books donates free books to schools, libraries, and other organizations across the world.

How to Apply: Fill out the application form with details about your school and the number of books you need.

International Book Program

Through the International Book Program, educators at Title I schools can request a donation of free books for their school or classroom. Books can be mailed to you (even internationally), or you can pick them up if you’re in Kentucky.

How to Apply: Click here to apply for a book donation.

Half Price Books

Half Price Books (HPB) is a used bookstore chain that offers free book donations for educators who are able to pick up the donations from a local HPB store or facility.

How to Apply: Fill out the Book Donations request form on their website. You can use this store locator to find a book donation pick-up site near you.


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