Donate Books

Why Your Book Donations Are Important

Guided by the spirit of the mission of Friends to foster a love of libraries, books, and reading in the Knox County area, we channel your donations back to the community in a number of ways.

Learn more about what happens to a book after you donate it to the library in this great article by Rachel Smalter Hall on Book Riot.

Questions about book donations? Call 865.215.8775 or send us an email.

Materials Donation Policy

The Friends of the Knox County Library accepts new or gently used:

  • Books
  • Audiovisual materials in working condition (VHS and cassette tapes are no longer accepted)
  • Magazines
  • Sheet music
  • Encyclopedias (please contact us first)
  • Textbooks (please contact us first)

The Friends of the Library is unable to accept any materials in the following condition:

  • Materials that have evidence of mildew, mold, brittle or yellowing pages, bug infestation, stains, or dirt
  • Any items that smell of cigarette smoke or other strong odors.
  • Books with broken spines or missing pages.

Bringing Small Donations to Any Library (three boxes or less)

Please bring your donations of three bags or boxes or less that can be easily carried to the circulation desk inside any Knox County Public Library branch. With advice from the library, Friends suggests that anyone who wishes to drop off books for donation to Friends of the Library at a branch library location should contact the branch in advance to determine whether the branch has enough storage space for the books. You may also bring small donations to the Friends @ Rothrock Used Book Shop, located at Lawson McGhee Library, during bookstore hoursPlease do not place donated materials in book returns or leave them outside library doors.

Bringing Large Donations to Lawson McGhee Library (more than three boxes)

Please contact the Friends office at 865.215.8775 (or via email at to schedule your large donations.

Your Donations May Be Tax Deductible

If you itemize deductions, your donation of materials will be tax deductible. At your request, Friends will provide you a receipt for tax purposes. It will be up to you to determine the value of your donation.

What Does Friends of the Library Do With Your Donations?

Friends sells donated items at our used bookstore, our annual and branch book sales, and online, or donates them. The money raised by sales supports programming and purchases equipment not included in the Library’s budget, funds special Friends initiatives and programs, and maintains the Friends office.

What Can I Do With Materials Friends Cannot Accept?

Many local thrift stores accept books and other materials as donations that do not meet our criteria. Please consider organizations such as Habitat for HumanityGoodwillKnox Area Rescue Ministries, and others in our community.

Download our materials donation policy poster.