So, my friend Breanna Ransome, one of the smartest people I know, has been bugging me to start writing blog posts about the Free Books Project, formerly Camden County Pop Up Library. There’s our first piece of news! We’re currently undergoing a name change and rebranding. It was the addition of new programs and stronger initiatives that sparked the name change, which now encompasses all that we do, including our pop up libraries (about 15 per month), our book arks throughout the Tri-State area (over 70 in Camden and another 40 in other communities), and coming soon, a free bookstore located at the Newton Friends Meeting House.
A name change is always exciting, so I couldn’t be happier! I’m blessed to have such an enthusiastic and passionate crew under one roof. Our engaged board of directors, enthusiastic volunteers, and myself all work so well together to carry out our mission and vision. Although our motto has always been an continues to be “We take books where libraries don’t go and give them away for free,” we were never a library. We do so much more and now in so many more cities than just Camden, NJ where we got our start. My how things have grown. As a part of the rebrand, we’re finishing up finalizing our new logo, which will then kick off a redesign of our current website.
The bookstore I mentioned is opening March 4, so come out and show your support! We’re not sure if our soft start will attract one or one hundred readers, but we are 100% sure this bookstore will become a success. You might consider the Book Bank in Baltimore, Maryland one of the sources of our inspiration, although we’ve always wanted a brick and mortar building to house free books for the community. It will be located at 808 Cooper Street, Camden and there is free on-site parking. We thank the Newton Friends Meeting House for allowing us to use their meeting room. It’s gorgeous.
The bookstore will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone from anywhere to come in, browse, and take books home with them to keep, for free! We will have different programs going on to keep our readers entertained, but you can always just come in, grab a book, and go on your merry way.
If you’d like to donate your time, we’d love to have you. We’re looking for volunteers to help readers browse or who might be interested in reading to children or leading a simple activity, like a craft or mini-art project.
I’d like to thank Breanna for pushing me to start working on these blogs. We’ve worked on pop-up-library stuff together since I first saw her give a presentation to another local nonprofit about their social media strategy back in 2017. Since, she’s been an invaluable asset, and I’m looking forward to putting these blogs together as a regular thing. I am so passionate about the Free Books Project and enjoy talking about it, so I hope this outlet serves you as much as it serves me.
Thanks so much for staying with me so long.
Written by: Tom Martin, Executive Director
Edited by: Breanna Ransome, MA