One of the best parts about my local library (Chatham Area Public Library in Illinois) is the room where sales of used books (and treats!) help fund the Friends of the Library activities. During the pandemic, the room couldn't operate, but is now open for limited hours, with occasional days when donations can again be made. I write at the library a lot, and love this room.
Since we could not donate to the room for more than a year, I've looked for alternatives. Thrift stores are an option, but donations may not go to local stores. Fortunately, when dedicated volunteers created micro-pantries at locations throughout Springfield, Illinois, many also added micro-libraries.
This is a picture of the little library that sits next to the micro food pantry at Lanphier High School in my town. It may not seem big, but it can hold a lot of books -- tall ones on the top shelf.
You don't need permission to drop off books, but it's important to note that people of all ages have access. A mix of reading for children and adults is most helpful. I would never advocate any censorship, but you want to follow guidelines and use common sense. For example, erotica would not be appropriate.
As the school year ends, kids may have books used for coursework (not textbooks) that they won't use again. School libraries may be thinning the collection to prepare for next year's acquisitions. Teachers and school librarians are busy as the year winds down. However, they may be willing to let you pick up used books that can be added to the free libraries. It's worth asking.
If you get a bunch of books from schools or from "bag day" at local library book sales, make a few trips to the mini-library --or go to several. The only thing you can't do is leave a box of books outside the enclosed boxes.
Where to find these small libraries? Go to https://littlefreelibrary.org/. Above the map, put in your zip code. You may not find all the locations, but many are registered here. Does it take time? Yes. Is making books available to all worth it? You bet.
* * * *