If you remember the sticker shock you experienced when writing the check for your nursing texts, you might feel badly about the idea of those materials languishing on your bookshelves. Sure, you intend to refer to them. But because of the rapid speed at which medical science evolves, it doesn’t take long for technical books to become obsolete. Find a home for your collection in surprisingly obvious places—spots where others may treasure them perhaps even more than you do.

Help out your local or college library by donating old or outdated nursing books to their collections. Community members or students doing research can use your textbooks for reports and homework. Drop by the stacks on occasion to visit your books if you need a point of reference or just want to stroke the cover of an old friend.

Become an international benefactor by donating your nursing texts to Medscape, a website that acts as a conduit between texts and healthcare personnel in Iraq. Your old texts will be prized by health care workers who have an “utter absence of modern medical texts” in the war-ravaged nation. Since members of the U.S. military deliver all donations, your donation will also help bridge hearts and minds, a goal of the region’s allied forces.

Send your books to nonprofit organizations that distribute texts to impoverished nations whose medical personnel and students are grateful for any resources they can get. Check out representative destinations on the University of Buffalo website, an institution committed to finding homes for texts in Africa, the Pacific Rim, South America, Europe and Russia. Choose the destination you like, fill out the book donation form and send off your texts.

Contribute your nursing textbook collection to domestic sources, such as prisons located in your state or elsewhere. Help rehabilitate low-level offenders—particularly those incarcerated at women’s prisons and jails—by providing them with resource materials that can spur an interest in the nursing profession. Search the Internet to get the address or phone number of your state’s prison system and find out how to package and ship the books you wish to donate.

Call your alma mater to find out if the nursing school at which you trained has its own pet charity devoted to distributing textbooks no longer being used. Call the publisher(s) if you come up empty as they may support their own charitable cause dedicated to recycling old nursing texts. Take your nursing books to a second-hand or resale shop only as a last resort, after all, you’re in the business of helping people feel better and your collection has the potential to do just that.

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