SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 14, 2014

Salem Recycles book swap is back

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — If you’re looking for something to read, watch or listen to, you can’t do better than the book swap, Salem’s twice-annual exchange of gently used media.

“You can drop off, pick up or do both,” said Julie Rose, a business manager for the City of Salem who helps organize the event for Salem Recycles.

Spring cleaners with a stack of paperbacks they no longer want, but which they don’t want to throw out, should bring them to the Senior Center tonight from 5 to 7.

“Anybody can drop off anything,” Rose said, including magazines, CDs, video and audio cassettes, and greeting cards, along with books.

“That night, we set up loose categories, such as mysteries, home and garden, and children’s books,” she said.

When the doors open Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors don’t actually have to swap items but may select from those available.

“We do ask that people take only two bags up until noon,” Rose said. “Between 12 and 1, we don’t care what you take.”

Anything that’s left over will be picked up by Goodwill, which will recycle what it can’t sell.

People may bring in items for the swap throughout the event, but dropping them off on Friday helps volunteers get organized, Rose said.

The book swap started six years ago and was held in several churches before finding a home at the Senior Center, at 5 Broad St.

Having a fixed address has allowed organizers to settle on dates in March and September for holding the event, which continues to grow in popularity.

“I would guess we had somewhere between 75 to 85 people in the beginning first few swaps,” Rose said. “At the last one, on Sept. 21, there were 487 people.

“They love it. People describe it as their favorite event of the year. We have regulars and volunteers that volunteer for every swap.”