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Meet one of Jacksonville's favorite librarians, Mr. Joe

Mr. Joe travels around town for pop-up story times!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The pandemic created many unique ways to bring everyone together safely, including story time with Jacksonville librarians. 

“You know, when COVID hit we had to shift away from our indoor story times, and it was a great opportunity to get out in the world in the fresh air and start to explore, and it’s amazing to be in a park and read some great stories and jump around and sing songs with kids," said Jacksonville librarian Joe Gaskin. 

Gaskin is just one of several librarians that travel around town for "pop-up story time." Better known as Mr. Joe, he's got quite the fan base, including, Clara the daughter of Gamble Scott. 

“I think it’s exciting for her to find an adult like him. He sort of seems like not a grown-up, just this magical persona, sort of I don’t know, Mister Rogers and LaVar Burton combined. It’s like Reading Rainbow in person, and I don’t know, she loves him," Scott said.

Gaskin's passion for books started at an early age. 

“It was great to look up to all the librarians and have them guide us through. And yeah, it was just an amazing space to be, and I was hoping to be that space for other kids," Gaskin said. 

As one of only two Black male librarians in Jacksonville, Gaskin says his job goes beyond reading.

“When I was a kid going to the library, I didn’t see many people like me. I want other kids to know that this is something you can do. You can spend your time in the library. You can come out and read stories to other kids. You can do anything, and so I feel really honored to be able to provide some of that representation," Gaskin said. 

Check out more information on Jacksonville Public Library pop-up story times by clicking here

You can find Mr. Joe:

Tuesday: Main Library, 11 a.m.

Wednesday: Jarboe Park, 10 a.m.

Thursday: South Mandarin Library, 10 a.m.

RELATED: Sick of washing your hands? Sing with Mr. Joe!

RELATED: Details on the 2022 St. Johns Reads program and events (FCL Jan. 18, 2022)

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