Hello Book Thing friends,

Thank you to everyone who attended our two education-focused book giveaways in August and September!  Eighteen volunteers collectively put in more than 200 hours to make those events happen, and we gave away more than 6,000 books.

We omitted administrative announcements last month to focus on giveaway details, so we have some belated good news to share: we finally submitted our completed application for retroactive reinstatement on August 13th!!  This application to get our non-profit status back represented the culmination of twelve months of effort. It would not have been possible without our amazing CPA and pro bono legal support from two longtime Book Thing fans at the Baltimore office of DLA Piper. We are now waiting for a ruling from the IRS, which may take 5 months or more.

Upcoming events

Pandemic and weather permitting, we want to hold one public opening on the second weekend of each month for the remainder of 2020. We will continue to alternate between Saturday and Sunday, as we have for all our events this year. Fair warning: these are “pandemic and weather permitting,” and we may have to cancel, so please be sure to check back for updates. The first of these book giveaways will be in two weeks!

  • Saturday, October 10 from 9am to 2pm – details follow, book donations accepted
  • Sunday, November 15 – details TBD, book donations accepted
  • Saturday, December 12 – details TBD, no book donations

Additionally, we are working with our neighbors at the Village Learning Place to give books away at their Spooky Harvest Night celebration for neighborhood children on October 29.

Outdoor book giveaway: Saturday, October 10, 9am-2pm

This will be our third outdoor giveaway in the back parking lot.  Due to low attendance at previous giveaways — and because the book donation window will be open (see below)! — this opening will be just five hours, from 9am to 2pm. Social distancing rules will be in place. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Masks are required. Bring your own. We cannot serve anyone who is not wearing a mask.
  • You will need to count your books and sign out when you exit.
  • This event is weather permitting.
  • All patrons must be through the line and signed out before 2pm. Accordingly, if there are many patrons present, the “last admittance” to enter the line may be as early as 1:15pm.
  • Books will be arranged in boxes spaced out on the ground in the rear parking lot by the mural. You will need to stoop and lift the books you want. A socially distanced line of patrons will advance through the array of boxes, giving everyone the opportunity to select books.
  • You will find three boxes of books per station: one box with kids’ books, one with paperback fiction, and one containing unsorted books from other categories. Volunteers will refresh the books throughout the event.
  • The building is closed to the public, and we cannot allow any patrons inside. There is no outdoor restroom. Please plan accordingly.
  • This is an outdoor event. There will be no place to sit. Please dress for the weather.
  • Please bring your own bag or box to hold the books you are adopting. We will not have spare boxes available.
  • Even if you’re “quarantining” with family or roommates, you will need to go through the book stations alone: we cannot allow clusters of people, even if they are together.
  • A parent may be accompanied by one (and only one) child, and every child must be accompanied by one adult.
  • For the safety of volunteers and patrons who may be severely allergic, please don’t wear powdered latex gloves.
  • There will be limited parking available in the lot in front of our building. There is also street parking in the surrounding neighborhood. There will be no parking in the rear lot by the mural.
  • We are not able to accept walk-up volunteers at this event.

Thank you for your patience and understanding with the rules of this book giveaway.  Our primary concern is the health and safety of our volunteers, staff, and you — our community!  Our previous giveaways have been relatively quiet after the initial early birds who arrived for the 9am opening. We know it’s not the same as browsing hundreds of shelves inside, but our outdoor format is running smoothly. We encourage you to come and adopt lots of free books!

If you are interested in volunteering on October 10th, you may fill out the Contact form.  We anticipate staffing this book give-away primarily with experienced volunteers, but we will get in touch if we need extra hands.

Book donations

We promised to set at least one day this fall when we could accept book donations in limited quantities. We will open the book donation window for two of the upcoming weekend events: on October 10 and November 15. To be honest, we don’t need any book donations these days. We still have a huge backlog of boxed books in our off-site warehouse, and the pandemic has made it hard to get them sorted and given away. But we know many of you have been saving books for us to share with the rest of the community, and we’re grateful for that!  So:

  • Please don’t bring a truckload of books. The donation limit will be 4 boxes per family. Boxes must be small enough that one person can lift them when full.
  • We will be accepting all types of books (and magazines) except encyclopedia sets.
  • We will be accepting all types of media except cassette tapes. Reminder: no home-made content, please.
  • All incoming book donations must be counted. This is a new policy for our nonprofit reinstatement. We will be learning how to do this efficiently; thank you in advance for your understanding.
  • You have to adopt at least as many books as you donate.
  • Just kidding! (But we’d love it if you did.)
  • Please don’t bring us books that are moldy, sticky, stinky, or missing pages/covers.
  • Unfortunately, we can’t come pick up book donations, nor can we help you unload them from your vehicle on the 10th.
  • We can only accept book donations during the stated hours for our public events on Oct 10 and Nov 15. If you leave books outside of donation hours, you may be cited by the City for illegal dumping.

Stay safe and healthy!  We look forward to seeing you this fall.