In Baltimore (city in the U.S. state of Maryland), books become commons. This is the purpose pursued by Mr. Wattenberg, a former bartender who has wanted to create a system for distributing books freely to Baltimore’s people since1999. This project, named “The Book Thing”, was enlarged through the pillar of a board of neighborhood volunteers that has incorporated the initiative in their activities. Presently the structure’s hours are 9 am to 6 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The Book Thing’s mission is to “put unwanted books into the hands of those who want them,” according to Wattenberg. Patrons can donate their unwanted books to The Book Thing and/or take as many books as they would like. There are no required trades or donations. The estimated amount of books at The Book Thing is 200.000, and they come from a variety of sources including people, businesses, and organizations. You can take all the books (without limits) per person, per day, according to The Book Thing’s founder Russell Wattenberg, who said he has a hard time convincing people the books are free.
A similar initiative was implemented in Italy by a nonprofit association operating in Rome, “MonteverdeLegge”. This organization has founded, in February of 2013, “Bibliolibreria Plautilla”, a project aiming at the free circulation of the books. Furthermore a peculiarity of this initiative is the constitution of reading groups inside the structure itself.