Little Free Library Launches Read in Color Diversity Initiative

From Publishers Weekly:

Little Free Library, the nonprofit organization that promotes literacy through unconventional projects, has launched of its newest initiative. Working with Colle McVoy, a Minneapolis creative agency, Read in Color will distribute books on racism and social justice, as well as books amplifying BIPOC and GLBTQ voices, through LFL’s mounted containers. Read in Color is being launched in Minneapolis because LFL is headquartered in the greater metro area, but also because of the city’s association with George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Pending local funding and community support, LFL intends to expand Read in Color to other metro areas nationwide.

There are four components to the Read in Color initiative: the caretakers (called stewards) of LFL-branded book boxes as well as patrons are encouraged to sign a pledge to read and share diverse books; stewards can apply to receive free books appropriate to this initiative for stocking their library boxes – although this component currently is available only in the Twin Cities metro area; book lists being made available representing Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, Muslim and LGBTQ voices for all ages that were developed by LFL’s Diverse Books Advisory Group; and LFL will maintain little free library boxes filled with culturally relevant books in high-need communities in the metro areas participating in Read in Color.

The first dedicated Read in Color little free library box was unveiled on October 14 outside Urban Ventures, a Minneapolis nonprofit working to end poverty that is headquartered in South Minneapolis. “We are excited to partner with LFL as we look forward to aligning our mission around literacy,” Benny Roberts, Urban Ventures’ v-p of youth development stated in a release. “We’ll have community members seeing themselves as protagonists in books. It’s a beautiful thing to envision having books that reflect the community they’re in.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

For those unfamiliar with the Little Free Library program, if you want to participate, you build a box to hold books and put it where people can see it from the street. (Depending on location, a rain-proof box is sometimes a good idea.) A lot of Little Free Library boxes are located in places where people have front yards and a mailbox out by the street. The LFL box is often installed on a post not far from the mailbox.

Then you put some books in the box, likely books you have already read and, via a sign on the box, invite others to borrow or take them and put any books they would like to share with others into your box as well. It’s sort of a mini-neighborhood center for children and adults to explore for used treasures.

If you would like to improve the visibility of your Little Free Library box of books, you can sign up online and your address will be added to the organization’s collection of locations so more people in your area will be able to discover your box of books and borrow/take some.

See the Little Free Library website for more info and pics.

Here’s an example of a Little Free Library:

Photo via Wikipedia

PG has always thought this was a lovely, neighborly idea.

However, the OP raised the specter of Little Free Library content police checking the contents of boxes in their neighborhood.

PG suspects many of the people who put up Little Free Libraries in front of their house did not expect front-door harangues about the books that were found in their tiny free public library. The response of at least some homeowners might be to remove the LFL to avoid the possibility of future lectures.

PG thinks that would be a sad outcome and, likely, at least some of the most disappointed would be children in the neighborhood who enjoyed peaking into the box.