The Book Thing of Baltimore

Several times a year, our family drives the 75-90 minutes to Baltimore, Maryland. Over the years we’ve enjoyed much of what the city has to offer including, but not limited to, sports, the aquarium, the science museum, and restaurants.

But our favorite by far is The Book Thing. Their mission is “to put unwanted books into the hands of those who want them.” All of the books are stamped “not for resale” and the price is the best part. They’re absolutely free.

This is the stamp you’ll find inside a free book from The Book Thing of Baltimore

Our youngest son’s third-grade teacher told us about The Book Thing about a decade ago, and we’ve been visiting several times a year since.

You can imagine our dismay last spring when we visited only to learn that a fire had destroyed about 200k books as well as the warehouse that contained them. The volunteers and community have worked hard, though, and the Book Thing of Baltimore recently reopened.

We’re so grateful to know that our beloved Book Thing is back in business! I have some books to take down from our community library. Once there, I’ll scour the shelves for newer releases to take back with me. Getting books into the hands of readers is one of the things I love best about being the librarian of my local community center.

The Book Thing of Baltimore is my favorite charity because without books the world would be a dreary place. Knowing that someplace like this exists where I can find everything from classics in vintage bindings, to recent and current bestsellers, to ARCs of books that haven’t been released yet…it’s heaven on earth.

Drop a note in the comments to let me know if you’ve ever been to The Book Thing, or if your town has some similar charity that helps distribute books to anyone who wants them. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to learn what’s on my “am reading” list as well as progress on my next book.


34 Replies to “The Book Thing of Baltimore”

  1. I have not heard of this in my city, but each year I donate lots of books to our libraries annual book sale and the money goes to a chosen charity, like buying books for children’s libraries or school libraries.

  2. i wish they had that here my daughters are mentally challenged and hardd time reading and i have another son that read way above his grade level.

  3. No I have never been to The Book Thing. My town as the Little Free Libraries-a small wooden house holding free books. No Library card or membership need. Operates on the principle “take a book,leave a book”

  4. i have never been to the book thing but my town has a similar program. i love it because i can take my used books and swap them for something new to read!

  5. I love this idea. I never throw a book away. If nothing else I take them to our shelters and our outreach programs. It would be nice it every city had this program. Thank you for the information.

  6. I wish we had something like that around here..maybe I’ll start a quest!!Thanks for participating in this wonderful hop!! We should all learn to pay it forward!!

  7. No I have never been to the Book Thing but it sounds like I a great place for all readers. In the small town that I live in is just a small library. It very seldom has any new or kind of new books. It has alot of good books, they are just really up to date books. One library is all for this county. That’s way I love your books and the Authors with Sweet Grove! I have been lucky to get to read some of this books for reviews! I would love to read your! (I just had to try and slid that in). Lol

  8. Once again sharing my story again on the blogs. I believe in paying it forward and I have done that off and on in my life. It is so nice to see the joy a person can bring to another who may be in distress. And it’s great for the soul. But like I said in other posts, its hard when I lost my 29 year old son suddenly and my mom to cancer in this past four months. Now I find myself feeling empty and lost. So, I feel I don’t have anything to offer another person because the grief is in the way and it’s too overwhelming. I am doing my best to keep my faith up believing that God knows what He is doing and trust in Him. I believe unless people love others Unconditionally, then the gift is not genuine.

  9. We have a man in our church that just built a little house that looks like a miniature copy of our church. It houses books for anyone who wants one. People can also bring and donate to it. It’s really a neat concept. There are neighborhoods that are adding them there also.

  10. Anything that encourages literacy and reading for the fun of reading is wonderful in my mind!! I wish there was something like that in Arkansas or at least closer than Baltimore!!

  11. I have never heard of The Book Thing but I think it’s totally awesome. I am not aware of anything like that in my community. Thanks for all you do!

  12. All of my paperback books are given to people who can not afford to buy them with the promise that the books will be passed on to someone else.

  13. I haven’t heard about the “Book Thing” until today. Sounds like a worthy charitable organization. I agree without books the world would be dreary!

  14. Thank you for sharing. I have never been there. I live in a small town that doesn’t do anything like that but I wi!I mention it now that I know about it.
    We do have a small box set up by our largest part. The wooden box was put there by a young boy and his father after the son told his dad what he wanted to do. The box is a place anyone can leave books they no longer want and anyone can take a book to read but he ask you return it back to the box when your finished so others can enjoy it too. There seems to only be a few people doing it but I hope over time more will.

  15. Thank you for sharing. A young boy asked his dad to help him out a white wooden box up by our big park. I love in a small town. He put it up so people can put their unwanted books in it so others can read them too. He just asked that if you take a book please return it when your finished so others can read it too
    I think that’s a great thing he did I just hope more people will use it in the future. It seems like only a few use it right now.

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