A fire early this morning caused severe damage to a warehouse housing the beloved Book Thing of Baltimore, which has served as a vibrant free book exchange and community institution for more than 15 years. Book Thing founder Russell Wattenberg, who was one of OSI-Baltimore’s first Community Fellows in 2000, made some comments through an intermediary on Book Thing’s Facebook page:
Russell asked me to provide an update about this morning’s fire. There has been an outpouring of concern and people asking “what can we do?”. He is responding to as many of you as possible but is understandably busy with insurance, media, etc. and appreciates your concern and patience.
First and foremost, everyone is safe. There is substantial damage to the building – from fire, smoke, water…. Russell is meeting with the appropriate professionals (plumbing, electrical, roofing/construction) to see what immediate and longer-term steps need to be taken.
As always, the support of fellow civic-minded bibliophiles is appreciated. Exact needs are not known right now, but donations through the Book Thing’s Paypal account will be put to good use as the Book Thing rebuilds.
Those interested can make donations by clicking the “donate” button on the left side of the Book Thing website. Russell and Book Thing have earned tremendous community support over the years we know we’re not alone in hoping that this vital institution gets back on its feet as soon as possible.