The Book Thing is a nonprofit that gives away tons of free books every weekend and accepts donated books everyday.
I was curious when my friends talked about going to some book thing and asked what it was, thinking it must be some book fair or event or something. Then I was slightly frustrated when their explanation comprised of just repeating,”no, it’s THE Book Thing!” They could have given an actually helpful explanation, like saying that it’s a building where you can get free books and donate your own old books.
Located on Vineyard Lane, and with a small parking lot out front, the pink and blue cinderblock exterior walls make it hard to miss. There’s a sign up on the wall, declaring the building ‘The Book Thing’- it took actually seeing this sign for me to finally understand my friends’ explanation – the book thing was actually the name of the place. Great with words and explanations, my friends…
Stepping through the door helpfully marked ‘Entrance’ bring you into a fairly large room filled with shelves, bins, books, and people. And there are fans running, placed sporadically throughout the several rooms of the building. Why the fans? Because it’s as hot in there as ghost peppers roasted in the flames of Hades itself. But the building runs on donations and volunteers, so you can’t really expect the building itself to be super awesome. Parts of the ceiling and walls are uncovered insulation for one. But there is light, and you’re not really there to admire great architecture and interior design. No, what you came for is the free books.
Lining almost every wall and set into aisles in each room are the shelves full of books. They’re loosely organized by genre, but that’s it. If you’re searching for a specific author, that’s what you’ll be doing – searching. And you might find something else interesting that you weren’t originally looking for. Plus, the selection is HUGE (Math, biology, fiction, biography, history, medical, and on and on…) so that makes up for any and all imperfections. That, and the fact that you can take as many books as you want FOR FREE. All this magical place asks in return is that you write down your name and the number of books you took on the papers by the door. This helps them keep tabs on the numbers of books that go through their doors. An article by The Baltimore Sun says 20,000 books can come in and be taken out every weekend!
So, long story short – go to The Book Thing at 3001 Vineyard Lane on a Saturday or Sunday between 9am and 6pm. Bring any books you’re done with, and pick up some more – for FREE.