Russell Wattenberg, founder of the free book haven and warehouse The Book Thing, has been hosting donation drives and drop-offs sporadically since its physical space on Vineyard Lane was closed due to a fire in March 2016.
Another drive will take place this weekend, but this time, with hopeful news: The Book Thing is soon to reopen.
Wattenberg said on Friday morning that he is planning to open The Book Thing by early October, but is waiting to obtain occupancy permits.
Once granted, the plan is to then build 250 bookcases and to place about 200,000 books into the renovated warehouse, which Wattenberg said will take more than an afternoon.
“They’re not all going to fit on the shelves, but we have to have them back in stock because when we’re open, books will be flying,” he said.
Wattenberg said the warehouse is “the same, but better,” with a working public bathroom that’s handicap-accessible, well-lit rooms, a water fountain and more organized space so that traffic flows better. Wattenberg, who described it as “bright, warm, [and] clean,” said they are also planning to have a new sign-out area and will be moving many of the book categories to different locations.
But, Wattenberg said, there are still a lot of decisions to be made — like which color he wants the door frames and which door knobs are best.
“It’s frustrating. … All I ever wanted to do was give away books, but I'm doing everything but,” he said.
In the meantime, Wattenberg said The Book Thing is hosting a book drop-off and donation drive on Saturday and Sunday, in hopes of receiving more books and items, like air purifiers, office supplies and toilet paper, to make a “smooth transition” back to its old space.
If you go
The Book Thing will host a book and donation drive for items to use in the renovated space. Items on the wish list include air purifiers, office supplies, copy paper, toilet paper and more. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 3020 Vineyard Lane. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
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