Outdated encyclopedias are not necessarily worthless, get creative and repurpose or craft something using these sturdy books. This guide contains uses for old encyclopedias.
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Most of the time old sets of encyclopedias are worth nothing. If the sets are very old there might be some artistic quality in the old pictures that are in them. For instance pictures of cities in the 1800's or even more recently. These pictures could be cut out, enlarged and put in frames. Especially pictures of places that have changed or no longer exist. I am not sure about copyrights pertaining to them but if they are for your own use or for children's projects and not for selling it probably would be fine.
By Lilac from Springfield, MA
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Here are questions related to Uses for Old Encyclopedias.
I would like to sell a set of 1985 Collier encyclopedias or find a good home for them. Any suggestions?
By Marge from central NJ
Take them to your local library. Even if that branch doesn't need them they will pass them along to another branch or a charity.
We have several sets of old encyclopedias and we want to donate them. Who can we contact?
By Lelia Jo Cordell05/17/2011
You might ask any missionary organization you know. We caught an encyclopedia set on FreeCycle last year, and contacted our church. They were more than happy to take them for their Philippine faith-based school.
We have a 30 volume set and wish to find someone who would want it or know what to do with it besides put it in the dumpster. Anyone have any ideas, please.
By Jason W.07/27/2013
Hi, I've been looking for a set of encyclopedias that I used to have as a child and used all the time. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of them. These look similar to them, but I cannot be sure. Can you tell me, does this particular set have summaries of great works of literature at the end of each book?
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I have a 30 year old set of Encyclopedia Britannica in almost pristine condition. I must downsize and dispose of them. I have called thrift shops, rescue mission, library and no one wants them. I will have to throw them in the trash, any suggestions?
Susan from Casper, WY
These days, people are using old books to make purses. It's quite the thing right now. They are using hardback books to make all kinds of craft projects. Encyclopedias are just the right size for "Book Purses".
They call these crafts "Altered Books". This used book crafting is quite the rage. Check HGTV for Altered Book crafts.
Here's a URL about altered books:
Pictures of someone's Altered Book Purses:
You can put an ad in Craig's List under either "Free" or "Crafts". Or you can place an ad in your local newspaper or a "Little Nickel" type of free local paper. "FREE" ads are usually free. We had great luck getting rid of some unusual things using both Craig's list and the local Nickel paper. It's great to know that people are getting use out of our unwanted items.
You may want to list your ad as "Altered Book Crafters: Free Encyclopedias" or "Crafts For Teachers": Make collages and hanging mobiles from free encyclopedias." (The first 2 words are usually in bold)
One more idea: Scrapbooking stores and paper stores are the places where people go to buy supplies for altered books. You could either call them and ask if they'd like them for their customers or even better yet, just drop by with a case of encyclopedias and ask them if they'd like them.
Another Idea: Schools and art teachers are always looking for material for art projects. Art collage, science project collage, school projects, and teachers bulletin boards, or hanging mobiles. Besides an art or science teacher (middle or high school) maybe a donate them to a school library for kids to cut up for school projects. (Not all kids can afford computers in the home for pictures to do school projects with). You may want to try the schools in the poorer areas, or even Boy's aand Girls Clubs for collage and art projects. It's amazing what a child can do with a pair of scissors and a bit of glue. They could even make hanging mobiles our of the pictures.
***If you like you could even donate the glue, wire, cardboard, and some kids scissors you bought at the dollar store to start them on their way.
Many people are also making their own paper by blending up old paper in a blender. I've seen many wonderful hand made paper made by using just junk mail. Old encyclopedias covered with fabric make great scrapbooks, too.
Now that you have the info, if you have the time: Why not keep the books and make cool purses and altered books yourself for gifts. (02/05/2007)
In addition, if you just don't have room for them, and can't find anyone to give them to, you could tear pages out and crumble them for packing breakables, keep several to put under the legs of your bed to make it higher, fill in spots in the attic that need a bit more insulation. I know all these things would be destroying the books, but if your left with only recycling them at the dump, maybe you or a daycare or something could get some non-traditional use from them. Good luck. (02/07/2007)
Also, I have seen the lamps, they are really nice for the right environment, if you could find someone to make them or you could make them. I am going to look into the purses to make one from my Stephen King books, which are the only hardbacks I have kept. (02/07/2007)
By L. Mont, Miami