My friends often ask what they should do when they cull their Pagan bookshelves, and I almost always say “Give them to me!”
I’m not just being greedy, I swear! I do try to keep an extensive multicultural interfaith library both for my own studies and to lend to the community, and I give out duplicates to new folks regularly.
But most of my duplicate copies of books go to inmates, because 90% of what I do for jail ministry is figure out what kind of books will help them progress in their spiritual efforts while they’re stuck waiting for the next step of the judicial process. They are trapped, often confused, and always bored to tears. Giving them books helps everyone because it helps them continue to learn, and it helps them keep it together so that they don’t act out just because they’re restless.
I ALWAYS need more copies of Eddas and Sagas, decent (grounded in at least the actual rune poems, not racist) rune studies books. Books for solitaries in any kind of Pagan practice are helpful, especially if they’re actually geared towards practicing from inside a jail or prison. Introductory books to any Pagan path, but especially Heathenry and Wicca are always useful. Books about how to deal with spirits talking to you and basic spiritual skills are often useful. Books about the gods and/or basic myths for any given pantheon are often useful.
They love books of spells, but those are less useful because they rarely can have the components, and usually don’t have the education or insight required to understand how a book of traditional spells represents folklore research, and the ones who are far enough along their paths to appreciate that usually want something else anyway.
Spare books for other religions are still useful – I can hand them to the regular chaplains for them to give other inmates as appropriate. You might be surprised how often I actually recommend one of the Pagan inmates ask another religious group for literature, especially on things like Buddhist meditation, or Catholic spiritual exercises.
So yes, PLEASE, give me your spare religious books that don’t suck! They go to a good cause, I promise!