How to Donate Yiddish Books
Please note: We are not accepting new book donations until after October 16, 2023, as we are in the midst of installing our new core exhibition, Yiddish: A Global Culture. Read on to learn about how to donate Yiddish books, however we cannot accept new donations (dropped-off or shippped) until after October 16. Thank you!
Donating Yiddish books is simple, it’s easy, it’s tax deductible—and best of all, it’s a mitsve.
To donate books to the Center, email us at [email protected] or phone us at 413-256-4900, ext. 104. Depending on where you live and how many books you have, we’ll either dispatch a zamler (a volunteer collector in your area) or tell you how to pack and ship them yourself.
What sort of books does the Yiddish Book Center accept?
We accept Yiddish books of all sorts, regardless of title or condition (provided they’re not farshimlt—covered with visible mold).
We also accept:
- All titles in Ladino
- Yiddish/English dictionaries, textbooks, and music books
- English translations of Yiddish works and books directly relating to Yiddish language and literature
We cannot accept:
- English books in categories other than the above
- Sidurim (prayer books) and makhzoyrim (High Holiday prayer books) with no Yiddish text
- Biblical texts, Talmud, and other religious books in Hebrew
- Hebrew school primers and textbooks
- Modern Hebrew literature
If you are unsure of what you have—particularly if you are having a hard time distinguishing between Hebrew and Yiddish—simply send us pictures or photocopies of a few sample title pages. (Remember that Hebrew and Yiddish books open from right to left.) We’ll get back in touch with you promptly and let you know exactly what you have and whether the titles are of interest to the Yiddish Book Center. Title pages can be sent to us by email to [email protected], by fax at 413-256-4700, or by mail to Book Donations, Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002.
Are books donation tax deductible?
Yes. The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and all donations of books are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. We will be happy to send you an acknowledgment letter stating the number of items we receive. However, you will need to consult with an appraiser and/or accountant for advice on the tax-deductible value of the items you're donating.
How can I ship books myself?
First, you’ll have to pack them into small, sturdy cardboard boxes. Empty boxes from a local store are fine, but please note that the Post Office will no longer accept parcels packed in recycled liquor boxes. Please have rakhmones on the postal workers—and our staff!—and don’t pack more than twenty or thirty books (twenty to twenty-five pounds) to a box.
There are two easy ways to ship boxes to us. The first is through your local Post Office. The books can be shipped via Media Mail or Library Mail, which is quite inexpensive. Even easier (though slightly more expensive) is to ship via UPS, since their drivers will pick up the boxes directly from your home. Our shipping address is:
Yiddish Book Center
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building
1021 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002-3375
Please be sure to include your return address, both on the outside of the package and on a piece of paper on the inside of each box. This inside “cover sheet” is also a good place to let us know if you require a formal receipt for federal tax purposes. Number each box and let us know how many boxes are in your total shipment (#1 of 4, #2 of 4, etc.).
I can’t ship the books myself. What should I do?
If you have a great many books to send (several hundred volumes or more), or if you are physically unable to pack and ship them yourself, we may be able to dispatch a zamler, a volunteer book collector, who will come to your home to help with the packing and shipping.
How do I find the zamler nearest me?
If you need help—or if you’re interested in becoming a zamler yourself—email Suzanne Rubinstein at [email protected].
What happens to donated books?
Volumes donated to the Center are sorted, processed, and quickly returned to active use in college classrooms and major university and research libraries around the world. Books not yet in our digital library will be cataloged and scanned to be added to the library.
Can I donate records?
We do not take records at present. If you have records that you want to donate, we suggest that you contact one of the following:
• Judaica Sound Archives
Florida Atlantic University Libraries
777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33431
• Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive
Hanover, NH 03755
• Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Music Archive
Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Room 453, Van Pelt Library
3420 Walnut St.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
• The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture
Mills Music Library
University of Wisconsin-Madison
728 State St.
Madison, WI 53706