How to dispose of your library

This is a guide for Law Society members who want to donate or sell collections of legal books.

The booksellers and suppliers mentioned are examples only, as we do not endorse any organisations.

Donating to our library

We welcome donations of specific titles to extend our collection. We cannot buy titles or cover your postage costs, since our priority is our current collection.

Send us a list of titles and we’ll let you know if we can take them. Contact us at library@lawsociety.org.uk or 020 7320 5946.

Donating to libraries abroad

Some organisations will arrange to donate your books abroad. Each organisation has its own guidelines, so check before sending donations.

International Law Book Facility (ILBF)

The ILBF gives donated legal textbooks to not-for-profit organisations globally. See its website for its preferred list of core texts and information on how to donate.

Nick Webber Trust

The Nick Webber Trust supplies legal books to law libraries. You can email a list of your books to the charity.

Valuations

You may wish to get a valuation before selling or donating books.

Insurance valuations assess the cost of replacing the books. Sale valuations assess the amount you could expect to make if you sell the books.

Insurance valuations tend to be higher than sale valuations, so it’s important to be clear which kind of valuation you need.

Law firms may want to get a valuation before a merger or sale, so that the library can be taken into account as part of the firm’s assets.

The following organisations value collections for insurance, auction or probate:

Sale at auction

If you think your books may be rare or valuable, you may wish to think about approaching auctioneers. Legal books are more likely to be valuable if they were printed before 1800.

Make sure the auctioneer you use has experience of selling legal material. Ask to see a similar sale catalogue and find out whether catalogues are widely circulated, so that you can be sure the auctioneer will find potential buyers.

It will help if you have a list of the items you want to sell with editions and dates.

Auctioneers that deal with legal books include: