If you’re a serious reader like I am, you’re always trying to find a way to procure the next great read.

Maybe you take advantage of those little book exchange boxes in neighborhoods all over New Jersey. Maybe you’re one of those who like to kick it old school and visit the library on a regular basis. Perhaps you borrow from friends. I don’t do that because I’m very bad at returning. Or, do you just break down and buy all your books on Amazon?

Well if you live near Jersey City, or even if you have the gumption to drive there, there’s an amazing resource that you may not know about.

It’s called Jersey City Free Books. When you go on their website, jerseycityfreebooks.com, you will see their straight-to-the-point motto: A community organization that provides something to read without charge, obligation, registration, or indoctrination.

Jersey City Free Books is an interesting concept and I’m not sure if it exists anywhere else in NJ. Or even in the country.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Located at 3396 Kennedy Blvd. in Jersey City, it’s a community book exchange serving Jersey City, Hoboken, all of Hudson County and the entire New York City area. And the concept is exactly what it says: Free books.

It’s like a library, except you don’t have to return anything. But to show your appreciation, you can donate back. You can also donate things that they can sell at fundraisers to continue to keep the operation going.

However, Since Jersey City free books is dedicated to serious readers they won’t take everything. For example, They don’t take light fiction like mysteries, thrillers, romances, self-help books, cookbooks or children's books.

Additionally, since they can't be used by current students, textbooks over three years old are not accepted, either.

They do stress an urgent need for things like solid recent non-fiction including college textbooks less than three years old and recent quality fiction. (I guess it’s up to your discretion to figure out exactly their definition of “quality.”)

They can always use books on history, biographies of historical figures (not celebrities), dictionaries, language learning books and media, scientific books, and books on photography or art.

And while they won’t offer comic books, graphic novels or video and game DVDs to give away, they do accept them as donations because they are great to sell at flea markets as fundraisers. Also, the only periodicals they accept are tropical fish magazines and bird or pet magazines.

It isn’t required for you to donate, but most people enjoy the concept so much that eventually they will end up giving as well as taking.

There are some other rules and restrictions, so before you head up there, you should definitely check out their webpage. But this is an idea that should probably exist in other parts of the state, too. (South Jersey, I’m talking to you!)

If you like the idea of a free book “store“ and you’d like to help keep them going, you can donate at the Jersey City Free Books GoFundMe Page.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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