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'Read in Color' program launches in metro Atlanta

The program will establish 20 new Little Free Libraries with more than 3,500 diverse titles.

ATLANTA — You may have noticed 'Little Free Libraries' in your neighborhood before. The program focuses on expanding access to books through community book sharing boxes, with more than 100,000 locations across 100 countries. 

But now some of these libraries will address an important gap in literacy: a lack of diversity in kids' literature.

The nonprofit, Little Free Library, is teaming up with Family Literacy of Georgia and Fathers Incorporated to launch the 'Read in Color' initiative in metro Atlanta.

The program will create 20 new library boxes with more than 3,500 books to be distributed. Titles will focus on promoting understanding, equity and inclusion among young readers and families.

"Diverse authors, diverse topics, diverse characters," Shavawn Simmons, Executive Director for Family Literacy of Georgia, said. "Where children and adults can now see themselves in places that they have not normally seen themselves."

The 'Read in Color' program first launched in Minneapolis last year after the police killing of George Floyd. The program has since expanded to nine cities across the country, while new libraries will be set up in Clayton and Fulton counties in metro Atlanta. 

"As the executive director here locally, we became aware of the Read in Color initiative through social media," Simmons explained. "In reviewing their mission it perfectly synced with the mission of Family Literacy of Georgia, which is to improve access to literacy resources and communities of color."

“We are proud to work alongside such incredible community-centered organizations as Family Literacy of Georgia and Father’s Incorporated to improve book access and build community through the sharing of diverse books in Little Free Libraries,” said Shelby King, Director of Programs at LFL, in a press release. “It is our hope that through these new libraries, books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice; celebrate BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other important voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers will make their way into the hands and homes of people all over the city.”