Hello Book Thing friends!

UPDATE as of Fri. 11/13 – We are planning to hold Sunday’s book giveaway outdoors, weather permitting. See below for details.

A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered, adopted books, or donated books at our October event.  If you didn’t see the article in the Baltimore Sun, check it out!

We did not meet our (secret, aspirational) goal of giving away more books than we received at our last event on October 10. In fact, we received about 4,000 books and managed to find homes for only half that many.  We knew ahead of time that it would be a long shot. Still, help us flip the trend at this month’s event!  Think of all the communities you may be a part of — your friends, your neighborhood, your kids’ school, your house of worship, the places you work and volunteer, the family members you’ll be sending gifts to — we’d love it if you took extra books to redistribute!

As we announced more than a month ago: pandemic and weather permitting, we want to hold one public opening on the second full 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 next of these book giveaways is in one week.

  • Sunday, Nov. 15 from 9 to 2pm/5pm – book donations accepted until 2pm only, closing time depends on format, details follow.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12 – details TBD, no book donations

Book give-away: Sunday, November 15

UPDATE – We are planning to hold the book giveaway outdoors 9a-2p.  Afternoon rain is in the forecast. The event will be cancelled if it’s raining in the morning, and may end early if the rain arrives before 2pm.  Check back before leaving home.

We are worried about the rise in COVID-19 cases in Baltimore City, and the safety of our volunteers and patrons is our first concern. At the same time, we know people need to stock up on books. No promises, but we hope to allow members of the public inside the building on a limited basis on Nov. 15. For obvious reasons, this will be strictly controlled, but it should make it easier to find the books you want.  And if virus infections rise more this winter, it may be our last chance for a while. We will make a final decision later this week, but we want to make you aware of the rules in advance so there are no surprises. They will be firmly enforced! If we’re unable to allow the public inside the building, the giveaway will be held outside in the back parking lot by the mural, weather permitting. So please check back before leaving home!

Rules for both indoor AND outdoor format:

  • Masks are required.
  • A parent may be accompanied by one (and only one) child, and every child must be accompanied by one adult.
  • Don’t come as a group. If possible, send only one person from your household.
  • Take as many books as you can, and distribute them to your family, friends, and community.
  • You will need to count your books and sign out when you exit.
  • Please get in line more than once and adopt lots of books.

Rules for outdoor format (9a-2pm):

  • The event will be weather permitting.
  • We will close at 2pm.
  • All patrons must be through the line and signed out by 2pm. Depending on attendance, “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 will be closed to the public. There is no outdoor restroom. Please plan accordingly.
  • There will be no place to sit. Please dress for the weather.
  • Please bring your own cart/bags/boxes to hold the books you are adopting. We may have a few 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.

Rules for indoor format (9a-5pm):
We are tentatively hoping to allow people to come into the building, in which case…

  • 20 patrons will enter on the hour each hour from 9am to 4pm. The first entrance will be at 9am, and the last entrance at 4pm.
  • Patrons will have 45 minutes to browse our stacks, select their books, and exit the building. The time limit will be strictly enforced.
  • Upon exiting, patrons will form an outdoor line to count their books and sign out. Yes, even if it’s raining.
  • Patrons are responsible for their own social distancing inside the building.
  • If a patron exits early, a new patron who is waiting may enter on “stand by” and use the remainder of the 45 minute time slot. This new patron will not be permitted to stay beyond the end of the time slot, extend into the next time slot, or hold their original place in line for a later time slot. “Stand by” entry means you accept that you will have less than 45 minutes to browse.
  • The restroom sink will be available for hand-washing. The toilet is (still) out of order. Please plan accordingly.
  • Spare boxes will be available to hold your books.
  • All lines will form outdoors. Dress for the weather, bring an umbrella if it’s rainy, etc.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding with the rules!

Book donations (9a-2p, Nov. 15)

We will open the book donation window on November 15 from 9am to 2pm only.  This is our second book donation day this fall and the last one for 2020. To be honest, we don’t need any book donations just now. 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!

  • Book donation hours are 9am-2pm on 11/15. If we have to cancel the book giveaway, the book donation hours will also be cancelled.
  • The donation limit will be 4 boxes per family. Boxes must be small enough that one person can lift them when full.
  • We will accept all types of books (and magazines) except encyclopedia sets.
  • We will accept all types of mixed 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 are learning how to do this efficiently; thank you in advance for your understanding.
  • 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 15th.
  • We can only accept book donations as outlined above. If you leave books outside of donation hours, you may be cited by the City for illegal dumping.

We’re soaking up the gorgeous fall weather and enjoying being outdoors while it lasts… even as we prepare mentally for how to stay healthy through the colder indoor months.  Be safe out there!