PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Earlier this year, we told you about the Book Ark Project in Camden County. Well, a man in Strawberry Mansion saw that story and now, he’s spreading brotherly love in his own community.
Tom Martin started the Camden County Pop Up Library, giving books away on street corners and in soup kitchens. He also started the Book Ark Project, filling the wooden boxes with free books, like this one run by Angel Jimenez of Camden.READ MORE: Ocean County Couple Among Those Missing In Building Collapse Near Miami
“Reading is very important for a lot of kids,” Jimenez said.
“Charles watched that, gave me a call, and said, ‘Brother Tom, I want an ark,” Martin said.
Charles is Charles Brown.
“I wanted to bring this to the community, as a way of giving back,” Brown said.
Now there’s a Book Ark at the corner of 29th Street and Ridge Avenue.
A neighbor painted it, Martin stocked it with hundreds of books for children and adults. Brown and his wife, Lanelle, even threw a neighborhood party.Philadelphia Board Of Education To Officially Rename Andrew Jackson Elementary School
“Since we ran out of almost 500 books, Tom and I, they’ve actually been knocking on my door,” Brown said.
“And it’s awesome,” Martin said. “I don’t know anyone at 29th and Ridge. I can’t just come out here and put out a Book Ark. I’d love to do that across the city, but I need somebody like Charles that has the initiative.”
Brown says he developed his love of reading while serving time.
“I used to sell drugs on this very corner,” he said. “I’m a different person.”
Brown said he hopes the ark sparks community conversations and exploration.
“Let it take you somewhere, read,” he said.
The Camden County Pop Up Library has 65 Book Arks in Camden. This is only the sixth one in Philly.
“There are more Charles out there. And they just gotta find us, we have to find them,” Martin said. “It’s people like this that change the face of communities.”MORE NEWS: City Council Passes New, Simplified Curfew For Philadelphia Minors
If you would like to get in touch with the Camden County Pop Up Library, click here.