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Neighborhood hero builds his own TARDIS from ‘Doctor Who’

Take a book, leave a book.

Doctor Who fans, rejoice. A man in Detroit built a real-life TARDIS, and it can take you across galaxies and back in time.

If you like to read, that is.

Dan Zemke built a real-life version of the Time And Relative Dimension In Space machine (TARDIS) from Doctor Who, except he calls it a "Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary," which will function as a free library.

Image: daniel zemke

Zemke built the TARDIS with the help of his father, W. John Zemke.

Zemke, whose brother rehabs homes in Detroit, according to The Detroit Free Press, said he’s always wanted to fill up a vacant spot in his neighborhood with something "cool" to attract people. So, as a big fan of the hit British sci-fi series, Zemke settled on a TARDIS. But he put his own spin on it — or in it, rather.

In the TV show, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside, “which clearly we couldn’t do," he said. That’s why he settled on a library.

"We wanted to fill it with things that are bigger on the inside," he said. "Books hold these literary worlds."

Zemke is the outreach and communications coordinator at Advantage Health Centers in Detroit, and manages a reading program there. He said they make sure kids who come into the clinic leave with a book, which he said helped to inspire the library idea, too.

He built the TARDIS at his parents’ home in Pickney — about an hour from Detroit — with the help of his father, and said he first thought it would be a month-long project. It didn’t go that way, and he’s been working on it since Labor Day.

He also commissioned the help of a local set designer and painter in Detroit, Jennifer Maiseloff, who created a mural inside the TARDIS.

Image: daniel zemke

Jennifer Maiseloff created a mural inside of the TARDIS.

"We want to give people a feel that when they’re opening it they’re looking into the TARDIS," he said.

Zemke told Mashable that he’s received book donations for the library from people in the neighborhood, and from some Detroit public libraries, as well as the bookstore John K. King Used & Rare Books.

Anyone can go in and take a book, he said, and it’s up to them to either return it or leave another one.

Image: daniel zemke

Zemke thought the project would take about a month, but it turned into a longterm project.

"That’s a good thing if people are taking books," he said, adding that the library will eventually have to be restocked.

The structure is being unveiled this Saturday in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit, Zemke said, and the whole neighborhood is invited, along with some local news stations.

Zemke also reached out to another special group for their "blessing" on the project — the original doctors themselves, like Peter Capaldi. He hasn’t heard back from anyone yet, but said they’re always welcome to pay a visit to Detroit to check out the TARDIS.