I stumbled across Sarah Kamya’s instagram account (@littlefreediverselibraries) at the start of June and was instantly blown away by her mission to amplify Black voices by filling her neighborhood’s Little Free Library in Arlington, Massachusetts, with books written by Black authors. And I’m not the only one who admires Kamya’s mission, because by the third week of June she had a porch full of donated books (she raised close to $1,000 after her first post highlighting the mission!), rapid growing support on her Instagram page and even appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Read on for more on the inspiration behind the LFDL mission and ways you can help!
What’s the Little Free Diverse Library mission?
The Little Free Diverse Library Mission is to amplify and empower Black voices by filling Little Free Libraries with books written by Black authors, showcasing Black characters and purchased through Black-owned bookstores.
What inspired you to start this?
The mission for this project started when I was on one of my daily walks through my town of Arlington, Massachusetts. There is a Little Free Library right by my house which I pass every day where you can take a book or leave a book. I always stop to check out the books and I was thinking how great it would be to fill these libraries in my community with more diverse books. My town is made up of 83.6 percent white people and 2.63 percent African-Americans, and while it is not my job to educate the white folk in this community I believe in the power of books and I believe that books have the power to start conversations and create change. It is also my hope that through this project that if little black and brown children stumble across one of these Little Free Libraries they will finally be able to see themselves represented and celebrated in literature.
People are loving your mission! How has this experience been for you?
The experience has been quite overwhelming, as I just planned to fill the 20 or so little free libraries in my community. Now I have sent books to 33 different states. It has been so exciting to see this project grow, and it has been especially powerful to see it through my student’s eyes. I am an Elementary School Counselor and the majority of my students are black and brown. This project has allowed me to show them that no idea is too big, or too small and that they deserve to have themselves represented, celebrated, and portrayed in literature.
Last book you read and loved?
I JUST finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – it was just incredible.
*Number of books purchased from Black-owned bookstores:
*Number of books received from through the Amazon wishlist:
*Number of states Kamya has sent books to fill Little Free Libraries: 33
Just over $13,000
Ways readers can help support LFDL:
I am accepting Venmo donations (@Sarah-Kamya) where the money goes directly to Black-owned bookstores like Semi-Colon Bookstore in Chicago, The Lit Bar in the Bronx, and Mahogany Books in Washington D.C.
*You can also donate via the Amazon wishlist here.
*Follow LFDL here for updates and more!
*Numbers as of 6/30