Finding inclusive, culturally relevant books to read just got easier in the Bay Area. Today the national Little Free Library® (LFL) nonprofit organization introduced its Read in Color diverse-books initiative in San Francisco in collaboration with Access Books Bay Area and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) African American Parent Advisory Council. Through the initiative, 10 new Little Free Library book-sharing boxes will be established in high-impact areas and more than 2,000 diverse books will be distributed to promote understanding, equity and inclusion.
“Access Books Bay Area is very excited to be partnering with Little Free Library and the SFUSD African American Parent Advisory Council to bring Read in Color to San Francisco!” said Amanda Collins, Executive Director, Access Books Bay Area. “San Francisco is an incredibly diverse city, so this opportunity to bring books that actually represent the lives and experiences of our students directly to their communities and neighborhoods is invaluable to us.”
Don’t be fooled by San Francisco’s affluent reputation, Collins says; access to diverse books is sorely needed.
“Despite being in a city with great wealth and opportunity, many of our families—and especially our families of color—get left behind, and our organizations are united in our efforts to ensure that every child in this city gets the access to high-quality reading materials that are culturally relevant and engaging to read that they deserve,” said Collins. “Thank you so much to Little Free Library for helping us bring this great resource into our communities here in San Francisco!”
The first of San Francisco’s Read in Color libraries, pictured above, stands at Bessie Carmichael Elementary, located in San Francisco’s Filipino cultural district. The school is home to the city’s only Tagalog language and Filipino culture immersion program. It serves 479 students, over 70% of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 89% of whom are children of color.
“Books provide access to possibility. They allow you an opportunity to see the world and all of its majestical beauty while also igniting curiosity for what is possible,” said Laticia Erving, African American Parent Advisory Council Program Manager. “Oftentimes the books our children have access to tell stories that don’t reflect them or their experiences, making it difficult for them to connect or even participate in the wonder that awaits them.”
“For the past six years the African American Parent Advisory Council has committed ourselves to diversifying the literary offerings of our young people and their families,” Erving continued. “Teaming up with the Little Free Library Read In Color Initiative, Access Books Bay Area and community partners across San Francisco, we just took our efforts to the next level! It’s time to tell our stories, celebrate diverse identities, and inspire young people to not only read in color, but live in color too!”
To date the Read in Color initiative has launched in 10 U.S. cities, from New York and Washington, D.C. to Atlanta and Phoenix, with plans for greater expansion this year. More than 150 Read in Color Little Free Libraries and 30,000 diverse books have been shared so far. Learn more at LittleFreeLibrary.org/read-in-color.