Contributing a favorite book of poetry to your local library's collection is an important way to share poetry with others. Many libraries have undergone or are facing severe cuts in funding. These cuts are often made manifest on library shelves, where acquisition budgets have been slashed, leaving holes in the library's collection.
Your book may become part of the library collection or made part of an ongoing book sale to patrons. For example, the book donation policy for the New York Public Library states that "the Branch Libraries welcome gifts of materials in good condition, including books, paperbacks, recordings, and magazines. These gifts may be added to the collection in one of our branches or may be made available for sale. Proceeds from book sales are used in a wide variety of ways, most frequently for the purchase of new materials." Current and back issues of literary journals may be appreciated as well, since many libraries have been forced to reduce their budget for serial publications. Remember: the books or magazines should be in excellent condition and you should check first to see if the library is accepting donated materials. If your library does not take donated books, ask if you can suggest a poetry title to be added to their collection.
For more information on poetry in libraries, visit the Poets House program, Poetry in the Branches, a "multi-faceted, replicable program model that helps librarians create a complete environment for poetry in their library."