Toronto homeless men start their own library

Under downtown bridge, love of reading is shared with all

Alex, a Toronto homeless man, reads his favourite book at the Free Underpass Library he helped create, located under a bridge at Lower Simcoe and Front Street.  Kimberly Naipaul / Toronto Observer

In the City of Toronto, everyone can find a book to read.

Underneath a bridge at Lower Simcoe Street near Front Street, two homeless men, Elwin Murphy and Alex, who didn’t want his last name used, have created their very own library.

Alex’s collection at The Free Underpass Library includes books such as Fifty shades of Grey, biographies of historical figures, children’s books, political reads, along with movies. Meantime, on the other side of the bridge, you will come across Murphy’s collection, dubbed the East Side Simcoe Library, featuring a wide range of books.

“It was a concept that we came up with several months ago,” said Murphy. “People used to drop us off books all the time, next thing you know we ended up having too many. We figure we’ll just put them out and let other people read them,”

The homeless duo adore reading. Their hope is to get people back loving literature.

“Information and knowledge is free,” said Alex.

“So many times you’re walking around the streets and people are carrying a cellphone, they’re absolutely oblivious as to what’s going on. Maybe this will get people disconnected from these things and looking at a real book. The joy of looking at a real book and turning a page.

“I just try to stay happy, pleasant and try to get people interactive. A lot of people are disconnected from society, by doing this, it will maybe open it up to a new idea.”

Individuals are always welcome to visit the free library stations, and they can definitely expect to leave with a book.

About this article

By: Kimberly Naipaul
Posted: Sep 30 2015 11:56 am
Filed under: News