March was a great month for the Camden County Pop Up Library. We’ve seized the opportunity to move our donated book supply from a 10-by-10 storage unit to one twice as large (which, of course, means we can store twice as many books)! With the larger storage unit, we are able to better sort the books by their categories: fiction, nonfiction, religious/spiritual, Spanish, sports, books for-and-by people of color, poetry, cookbooks, science and science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, children’s and kid’s, young adults and teen’s, and other. We have have four sorting parties, and would like to give a special thanks to Jessica, Lily, Maddox, Luke, Ivette, Angela, and Colette. When we prepare for a Pop Up Library, we stop by the storage unit and fill the bins based upon the books from each category depending on what kind of PUL we are doing that day. This not only makes our jobs easier; it makes sure that our readers have a myriad of options at each PUL.
We’ve also recruited three Pop Up Librarians who now set up PULs on their own. A retired doctor in Burlington County sets up his PUL every Wednesday near a Virtua Hospital Site. A traveling RN currently working in Virginia has set up her own PUL with some friends of hers. A family from Collingswood, Lily, Maddox, and Jessica have helped sort and are doing a PUL once a month in Camden. It’s amazing to see that the Pop Up Library Movement has spread from just Camden County to not only other New Jersey counties but other states! Keep up the good work everyone! If you’re interested in becoming a Pop Up Librarian, read more about it here. Note that we do supply the books and can suggest popular locations!
We’ve responded to a cry from some of the folks we have met on the streets of Camden who told us that the Camden County Jail located on Federal Street could use more books. The warden of the jail was wonderful; she took a few boxes of both books for adults and children. This allows for inmates to take a book that they can read with their younger family members when they visit. We are so happy with this arrangement and will be delivering many more books soon. We’re interested in facilitating that painting a mural inside the jail’s waiting room for visitors. Are there any artists out there that want to help us make that happen? Please contact us if you’re interested or recommend anyone.
The VOA at 1812 Federal Street built a library and we had our hand in helping! We were lucky enough to be given bookshelves by a wonderful woman named Mary who is moving to an assisted-living facility. And, the same day, we delivered the shelves to the VOA. Two carloads of books were also donated by Wilkinson Construction after they found them at a job site. Thanks to the men of the VOA, an empty room was converted to a library in a matter of hours.
The past month has also involved delivering children’s books to DCP&P, CamCare, and a few other places. Through the generosity of their founder and owner, Townsend Press has printed and delivered well over a thousand books for us, including books for children, for-and-by people of color, and in Spanish! We are continuing to do at least two PUL’s a week all around the City of Camden and look forward to further developing our relationships with affiliated organizations.
Tom Martin and Breanna Ransome