Since the Black Lives Matter movement came to the forefront of the national conversation, the group has committed to diversifying the titles available to readers in their local free libraries.
Across the United States and beyond, Little Free Library book-sharing boxes make the joy of reading more accessible to all, especially to young children. However, with the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the initiative has had to confront the sad truth that most of the titles in their collections do not include stories about people of color. In an effort to include more diverse narratives in the range of books they offer, Little Free Library has chosen to create the "Read in Color" initiative. The project consists of four key components, and one of them is ensuring free books with non-White characters, CNN reports.
Little Free Library spokeswoman Margret Aldrich said in an interview with the news outlet, "After the murder of George Floyd, we started looking at ways we could contribute to change and we saw our stewards around the country feeling the same way and sharing diverse books in their Little Free Libraries. We really believe everybody should be able to see themselves in the pages of a book and we know that we can all learn a lot from reading books about other perspectives." Therefore, the group launched their Read in Color initiative in Minnesota's Twin Cities on Wednesday by adding 5,000 books that celebrate diverse identities. Not so coincidentally, Wednesday was Floyd's birthday.
The project will continue to expand across the country, targeting low-income communities in particular. "We recognize that there are places in our country and communities where book access is problematic, especially books that reflect the faces in these communities," Little Free Library's executive director Greig Metzger stated. "It's all about what we can do to help create a better sense of understanding of the variety of people in our country." Adding more diverse titles is only one part of the project. A second component is a Read in Color pledge, which anyone can sign in order to make a commitment to read and share diverse books.
The Little Free Library will provide free diverse titles to stewards, that is, the caretakers of local free libraries, as part of a third component of the initiative. When possible, these books will be purchased directly from minority-owned bookstores. Finally, the fourth component is a recommended reading list that provides diverse book titles people can consult for ideas on what to read next. Metzger affirmed, "It's a long term challenge but just to imagine that if even just one child somewhere will be impacted by this effort and feel more inspired to read and make changes in our society, then it is definitely worth it." At present, there are 100,000 Little Free Library locations in 108 countries across the globe. You can take personally take the Read in Color pledge here.