Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Ain't nothing but a book thing

It took us awhile to find this place. When Yummy mentioned she was moving to Baltimore I looked at a map of the area around the address she gave me. There were several book stores in her area, including a cluster of used book stores. One of them was Book Thing. The weather hasn't allowed a lot of walking around, but when we would go out I'd try to direct us in that direction. Saturday I saw a bumpersticker with the Book Thing URL on it and punched it into my phone. Sunday we stopped in.

Book Thing is a place where you get free books. People donate books. They shelve them. Other people take them. All you have to do is write on a piece of paper the number of books you're taking.

The roof leaks. Climate control was minimal to non-existant. Maps of the place were out of date. The floor was concrete. The bathroom is in a McDonalds two blocks away.

It's kinda awesome.

The neighborhood also boasts a Goodwill, a couple of pawn shops, an adult bookstore, several skeezy clothing stores, a quicky tax place, a check cashing place, a community health center, a KFC with heavy bolts on the bathroom and bulletproof glass in front of the cash registers, and a rather nice church.

I'm glad it's not as close to Yummy's place as I initially thought.

The front room seems kind of sparse. A row of plastic bins holds books for children of a wide variety of ages. One wall has books in and about foreign languages. There's a gardening and home maintenance section. One wall contains all manner of textbook about biology, genetics, engineering, welding, programming, some even in the quantities you might need for a modest classroom. A small shelf holds their sci-fi selection. Seems kinda weak just looking at this room.

Then you step through another door to their main room. It runs most of the length of the building. Their legal section rivals their whole other textbook section. The rest of the room is just labeled "fiction". A couple shelves have the romance books. If you're into books about CIA agent [insert name] there's about 20 shelves for you. A couple more for just mystery. Then another small room that I barely looked at because my arms were getting tired.

So really, what you have is a place that provides free books in a poverty stricken area for people who need them. Or people who bother to find the place. I recommend you check it out if you're in the area. If you have books they can use be sure to let them know.

More info at http://www.bookthing.org/.

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