If you search “Pop Up Library” on the Internet, the results will vary tremendously; below we identify what a Pop Up Library—specifically what Camden County Pop Up Library (CCPUL)—is and advocate for a movement we know can change our communities and the lives of its members with your help.
People we call Pop Up Librarians are setting up book donation and giveaway stations in various accessible locations to encourage individuals of all ages and from all walks of life to read. These stations, or Pop Up Libraries (PULs), come in the form of mobile carts, book boxes set up outside of businesses, in bins at bus stops, and on vans or buses parked on bustling streets. PULs are literally popping up all over!
The Pop Up Library Movement is a creative and proactive response to library closures and a lack of funding for education and the arts, which has led to decreased engagement in reading all over this country. This problem permeates all communities, but especially those that are more poverty-stricken. What’s important to note is that decreased engagement does not mean decreased interest! The effect PULs have had on individuals and their communities is proof that even the most unlikely of readers are enthusiastic about and grateful for this newfound direct access to books. All PULs are different and have varying philosophies and policies. Some are “take one, leave one;” others encourage a recurring exchange (similar to actual libraries without the required collateral); but CCPUL is different!
CCPUL is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. You don’t need a library card, you don’t need to pay, we bring books where libraries don’t go and give them away! All of the books in our inventory are donated from individuals, fellow nonprofits, and large organizations. Contributions range from single books to hundreds at a time and all are appreciated and make a difference! See our Donate page to learn more about making a donation.
Camden County Pop Up Library (CCPUL) distributes books of various genres and lengths for children, teens, and adults. To name a few:
Nonfiction—dictionaries and thesauruses, biographies and autobiographies, religious and spiritual works (e.g. bibles and prayerbooks or books promoting mindfulness), self-help guides, history, politics, and science books, cookbooks, how-to guides, conspiracies, activity books for both adults and children, and more.
Fiction—thriller/mystery novels, science fiction, drama, action, and adventure books, plays, trilogies and other series, poetry, novellas, tragedies, comedy, horror fiction, literary realism, romance, graphic novels, manga, Wicca, queer fiction, urban fiction, children’s board books, and more.
CCPUL serves all of Camden County and parts of Gloucester County. We pop up regularly at:
- CVS on the second Sunday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m.
- 525 Mickle Boulevard, Camden NJ 08103
- Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Shelter on the fourth Sunday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m.
- 271 Atlantic Avenue, Camden NJ 08104
- The Cathedral Kitchen on the fourth Thursday of every month from 4 to 5 p.m.
- 1514 Federal Street, Camden NJ 08105
- Virtua Hospital Farmers Market every Wednesday from April to September from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 1000 Atlantic Avenue, Camden NJ 08104
- The Neighborhood Center on the second Thursday of every month from 3 to 6 p.m.
- 278 Kaigns Avenue, Camden NJ 08103
We’ve also popped up at Urban Promise Academy, Pennsauken Elementary School, Yorkship Elementary School, The Firehouse Art Gallery in Camden, New Visions, St. Joseph’s House, Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council (IHOC) and more.
Our PULs are run by volunteers that act as “book foot soldiers” and take on the role of Pop Up Librarian. The more CCPUL Librarians, the more libraries pop up, the more books CCPUL can put into the hands of the eager readers in our area! We are a grassroots organization and allow Pop Up Librarians to be the “boss” of their own PUL. Go to our Pop Up Librarians page to learn more about becoming a CCPUL Librarian!