Diversifying Little Free Libraries

Hi neighbours! I am Dinah, an elementary literacy teacher and Dekay Street resident working on a project to diversify our region’s Little Free Libraries.

In early June, I came across an Instagram account put together by Sarah Kamya of Arlington, MA. While walking past her neighbourhood Little Free Library, she thought to herself, “It would be great if we could fill that with diverse books by Black authors.” Sarah has since made major waves, receiving thousands of dollars in donations and hundreds of books and filling LFLs across the U.S.

I thought that seemed like something we could quite easily do here in KW. There are so many benefits — Black, Indigenous and authors’ of colour have their voices amplified; children and adults with diverse backgrounds are able to access reading material with content and characters they can relate and connect to; many folks are able to learn something new about a culture that is perhaps different from their own. It helps promote anti-racism, as well.

So, I’ve set up a project and I could use your help. So far, I’ve raised about $1800 that has been used to purchase books by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) authors. Half of the money is spent at local independent bookstores and half is spent at Black or Indigenous-owned bookstores in Southern Ontario. In addition, about 130 books have been purchased directly by donors from a registry of titles I’ve set up at Indigo. I also welcome used books from your own home collection, so long as they’re by BIPOC authors.

I’ve set up a website at www.kwlittlefreediverselibraries.com where you can read the specifics on how to donate and see some of the coverage we’ve gotten in local media. If you’re on Instagram, you can find me @KWLittleFreeDiverseLibraries for frequent updates. I have a Facebook page, as well.

My goal is to get books into Little Free Libraries around Waterloo region. I’ll need continued support in order to make that happen! You can help by donating and spreading the word in social media or by word of mouth. Or maybe you have or know of a business that would be interested in making a donation?

Give me a shout at murdochdinah@gmail.com if you have thoughts or questions. Thanks for your support thus far! I’m grateful to live in a neighbourhood with so many doers and helpers. 

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