Hello Book Thing friends,

With January behind us, it feels a bit late to be saying happy new year, so we’ll just share a wish: may 2021 be so much better!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered or adopted books at our December event. We gave away more than 7,000 books, our highest total for an outdoor event in 2020.  With January given over to administrative needs and a healthy dose of caution about group gatherings in the wake of the holidays, we’re now ready to look towards future events this winter.

Upcoming events

Pandemic and weather permitting, we want to hold one public opening on the second full weekend of each month this winter/spring. As usual, we will alternate between Saturday and Sunday. Fair warning: these are “pandemic and weather permitting,” and winter weather is not particularly good for outdoor events. We may have to cancel, so please be sure to check back for updates before leaving home.

  • Weekend of Feb 13-14 – weather cancellation. Stay warm and Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥♥
  • Sun March 14, 9a-2p details below
  • Sat April 10 – details TBD
  • Sun May 9 (Mother’s Day) details TBD

We will not be accepting any book donations this winter.  Again, that’s no book donations accepted at any of these upcoming events.

As you can see, we had actually planned to start our giveaways up again next weekend, but the weather isn’t cooperating. There are 3-9 inches of snow in the forecast for 21218 over the coming week, with lows in the teens and highs in the twenties expected next weekend. We can’t put books out on the ground in snowy, icy, wet conditions. So stay home and stay warm, and we hope to see you in March!

Outdoor book giveaway: Sunday, March 14, 9am-2pm

At this point, we plan to hold the March book giveaway in the back parking lot. (We will reassess the possibility of indoor options throughout the winter and spring.) Social distancing rules will be in place. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Masks are required.
  • The event will be weather permitting. We will cancel for rain, snow, or freezing temperatures. We will also cancel if there is any leftover snow, ice, or moisture on the ground in the back parking lot.
  • Book donations will not be accepted; please don’t bring us any books, magazines, or media on 3/14!
  • A parent may be accompanied by one (and only one) child, and every child must be accompanied by one adult.
  • 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. The mix will be approximately 25% kids’ books, 30% paperback fiction, and 45% unsorted books from other categories. Volunteers will refresh the books throughout the event.
  • Take as many books as you can, and distribute them to your family, friends, and community!
  • The building will be closed to the public. There is no outdoor restroom. Please plan accordingly.
  • Please dress for the weather. You get cold fast standing around in line. There will be no place to sit.
  • We will have boxes available to hold the books you adopt.
  • Try not to come as a group. If possible, send only one person from your household. We prefer to have just one person browsing at each station, but we can allow pairs of “quarantine buddies” (just not larger groups).
  • 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!

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. We know you want to come inside.  We know it would be warmer inside. We desperately want to let you inside, and we know you would adopt many more books that way, which would make us very, very happy. But our ventilation is poor and our shelves are very close together, so even if you might feel safe ducking in for 30 or 45 minutes in a limited entry format with all the usual precautions, our volunteers would be at a much higher risk staying all day to staff the event and restock the shelves. We won’t ask that of them.

If you are interested in volunteering on March 14th, 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.

News and updates

We’re still getting lots of questions about our reopening plans in light of our non-profit reinstatement, so we want to remind everyone of what we explained in December. To summarize: unfortunately, reinstatement doesn’t mean that we can just re-open and “go back to normal.” For one, the pandemic makes that impossible!

But it’s not just the virus. Getting our nonprofit status back was huge, but in many ways it was just step one. Once our finances are stronger, we will be able to increase staff hours to support more frequent public book giveaways. It takes personnel to move books — in-person, on-site, hands-on labor. But with the pandemic, keeping patrons, staff, and volunteers safe means restricting hands on deck to a minimum. In short: expect baby steps, not a rocket launch.

Thanks for sticking with us. Stay safe and healthy!