Tag Archives: Bay Area Free Book Exchange

More Free Books in El Cerrito

After visiting the Bay Area Free Book Exchange in El Cerrito last week, I was reminded of another place that gives away books and which also happens to be conveniently located just a few blocks away from the exchange. The El Cerrito Recycling Center—in addition to accepting old batteries, cell phones, plastics and scrap metals—takes donated books, magazines, CDs and tapes, a portion of which are then given away in a small outdoor library that’s set up on the premises.

My dad, who used to be pretty fanatical about dumpster diving, took me and my brother to the recycling center every so often when we were kids, and we’d spend hours swimming through the glossy pages of Reader’s Digests and National Geographics that filled its metal bins. Sometimes some shiny page would catch my eye, and I’d rescue a random recycled book or magazine to read or cut up into a collage.

The community-run exchange is similar to the one I reported on last week in that patrons can take and leave books as they please without having to donate anything in order to take something home. As you can see from the map below, the two locations are only a quick drive or bike ride apart, making El Cerrito an ideal destination for anyone whose love for books outweighs their pocketbook.


The El Cerrito Recycling Center is located at 7501 Schmidt Lane, and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

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The Bay Area Free Book Exchange, Where all the Books are Free

Imagine going into a bookstore, grabbing a handful of books and then walking out without paying. At most places this practice would get you a shoplifting charge, but at the Bay Area Free Book Exchange in El Cerrito, taking books is encouraged—because everything there is free.

Open only on weekends, the Book Exchange regularly accepts book donations that are then offered to the public free of charge. It’s kind of like a library, only you don’t have to return anything. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about the little book “store” on San Pablo Avenue.

You can visit the Book Exchange at 10520 San Pablo Ave., in El Cerrito; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Songs: “Ouverture,” Evan LE NY, and “Keep Walking,” Lonah.