The General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) and the Carpenters’ Apprentice Ready Program (CARP, a pre-apprentice program held at the Carpenters Joint Apprentice Training Center) built 15 free libraries for Philadelphia communities for their 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project. Materials for the structures were provided by Clemens Construction Company, Inc., along with decorative plaques donated by Spike’s Trophies. The book boxes will be installed in each of Philadelphia’s districts this Spring.

The free libraries were built by CARP students, with support from volunteers: past CARP participants who are now carpenters’ apprentices and journey-persons, and members of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters.

We were honored by visits from several Philadelphia Council Members: Cindy Bass, Kendra Brooks, Jamie Gauthier, Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, Derek Green, Mark Squilla, Isaiah Thomas, and Brian O’Neill’s director of legislation Bobby Yerkov. We were also honored by a visit from PA Senator Vincent Hughes.


Thank you to 6abc, WHYY, and the Northeast Times for coming to cover the event and help us share Dr. King’s message, as well as more information about the CARP program. Gina Gannon of 6abc also came to talk to the day’s participants.



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Dr. King famously said: ‘Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.’ And we couldn’t have been more honored to have an opportunity to serve the communities in which we build. We hope that these little libraries help foster stronger communities as neighbors share their books with one another and inspire local youth to read and learn.

Angela Hendrix, Senior Director, Training and Workforce Development, GBCA


We hope that these free library lending boxes will remind Philadelphians that union carpenters build things big and small of everyday importance. We also want to highlight the rewarding career opportunities available to Philadelphians through CARP.

The 12-week CARP program focuses on bringing more minorities and women from underserved communities into the trade. It takes people who have never even held a measuring tape and teaches them the basics of carpentry; opening the door to a viable career path, with a history of solid, predictable, wages and benefits that can scale and sustain a family. Click below to learn more about the CARP program: