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Good InfoMeet the Street Librarian Changing the Lives of Baltimore Youth and Beyond

Meet the Street Librarian Changing the Lives of Baltimore Youth and Beyond


Street librarian Araba Maze @Storybookmaze / Instagram

Three years ago, Araba Maze was reading a book to her niece on the front stoop of her Baltimore home in a perfectly ordinary fashion.

But as the pages turned, the number of local children gathered around for “stoop storytime” increased until Maze had to take notice. ‘What are they doing?’ she thought.

When she had finished reading to them, they asked her to read another. “Go home and read,” she said. “We don’t have any books,” they replied.

Little did she know, but those fateful minutes of reading time launched Maze’s career as a librarian and influencer who champions a cause of getting books into the hands of urban children with no access to libraries.

Now known as Storybook Maze, she started work at the nearest library, which wasn’t that near since her neighborhood is one of the worst ‘book deserts’ in Baltimore. Using her training, she began to curate collections of books and get them into the hands of children using three creative methods.

The first is a free book vending machine. Using her extreme popularity on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, she gathered funds to install a book vending machine for kids on the street in 2023. Through her efforts in opening pop-up bookstores, she’s distributed over 7,000 books to children.

Throughout the process, she routinely hosted more ‘stoop storytimes’ where she would read to children throughout the city, driving publicity through her social media channels.

OTHER CONTENT LIKE THIS: CNN Hero: Man Helps Barbers Fill Their Shops with Books to Help Kids Find Excitement in Reading

Now, Storybook Maze is attempting her largest project yet—a book trolley. With the goal of raising $100,000 on GoFundMe, she hopes to have a colorful children’s train that will toot-toot its way through the book deserts of Baltimore, providing as many books as can fit in the carriage cars.

“This book haven on wheels aims to break down barriers and provide access to books that traditional libraries can’t reach,” Maze writes. “As the wheels of the Book Trolley turn, so do the pages of countless stories waiting to be discovered.”

WATCH the GoFundMe pitch below… 

SHARE This Radical Street Librarian With Your Friends Who Care About Childhood Literature… 



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