As a book lover, I have always been fascinated by the little houses that offered free books to the public. It’s an engaging way to read books in all different locations. I’ve had the privilege to read from a Little Free Library located on Cape Cod, New York, Boston, and even the one at my YMCA.
As part of the continued mission to provide book access to underserved communities, Little Free Library has started the Indigenous Library Program (LFL). It will launch this spring, providing its classic book-sharing boxes on tribal lands and other Indigenous communities.
LFL has cultivated two started sets for the Indigenous Library Program. The first set is 25 books written or illustrated by BIPOC authors and artists. The second set of 25 books will be content about Indigenous people and communities. I was happy to read that these would be the books stocked as they are the books that need attention and recognition.
This program started with the Native Library Initiative and has since expanded to the Indigenous Library Program. Both of these programs are under the LFL’s Impact Library Program, a project that provides library boxes at no cost to communities in the U.S. and Canada with limited or no access to books. Under this program more than 1,800 boxes have been issued.
The Indigenous Library Program blossomed out of the acknowledgment of the lack of books and public libraries on tribal lands— this is when LFL decided to step in. LFL wanted to do this right, thus hitting some learning curves. They wanted to provide the right books and materials and make sure there is an open conversation.
Duane Yazzie, a teacher-librarian who set up the Navajo Nation’s first Little Free Library says,
“Talking about the Little Free Library project with anyone and everyone has helped to both create interest and support… People get excited when you share your enthusiasm about the project.”Duane Yazzie, littlefreelibrary.org
It is important that LFL isn’t just coming into Indigenous communities running the show. Every group of people are going to want and need different materials. LFL is aware of this, and the people within the communities have been working together to cultivate books people want to read.
Another progressive launch through LFL is their effort to include more banned books.
Any chance a library can supply banned books to those that wish to read them is a great thing. The public library in Madison County, Virginia, has been doing the same thing as books are being banned from schools. It is important that we can do everything we can to provide people of all ages the opportunity to read the books they want to read.
Click here to read more about Little Free Libraries from us here at Bookstr!