In April 2012, Mr. Richard E. Ashby Jr., President and Co-founder of LiteracyNation, Inc., a not for profit organization, set up a library on the street corner in West Philadelphia. Since then, "Mr. Richie" as he is known by the folks in the neighborhood, has performed on site-volunteer library services, for the Mantua community in West Philly. He plants new books along with fresh ideas in the hands and minds of children. He gives out new and used books along with encouragement, to adults, assist patrons to file for unemployment, access free Wi-Fi, look up mass transit schedules, ready reference services, conduct story times, conduct a homework help club daily. Some of the children books come from First book Inc. through book Grants. LiteracyNation supplies a bulk of the books, along with donations from friends.
The sidewalk Librarian has taken over the corner mostly known for its drug activity. Initially, Mr. Richie sat out on the corner 5 days week during favorable weather. He stated that “if they can sell poison…… I can give away the antidote”. When he was not on the corner you can find him hanging out with Council woman Janie Blackwell hosting a program at a senior center or at a day care center conducting a story hour, or in Brooklyn with the Delta sigma Theta Sorority doing a breakfast and story hour. This sidewalk librarian's side walk has no curbs or boundaries. He is quick to remind you that there is no substitute for your local library! He is only a quick fix in troubled times. He has traveled to Detroit and south to North Carolina “doing his thing” ….. Advocating for libraries, Promoting librarianship, literacy and love.
At LiteracyNation we provide programs and services for pre-schoolers, young adults and adults. We invite you to register as a citizen of LiteracyNation. We want to use this site as an information highway for programs, services and activities which promote literacy. We host literacy programs in any venue; places of worship, community centers, schools and libraries. We offer public speaking, book discussions conflict resolution theater and author book signings
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