• Sunday, February 25, 2024

These mini free libraries around NYC only carry books by BIPOC authors

These mini free libraries around NYC only carry books by BIPOC authors
on Apr 13, 2021
These mini free libraries around NYC only carry books by BIPOC authors
New Yorkers taking a stroll in Chinatown may notice a small wooden box painted blue and yellow and boasting the words Black, Indigenous and POC authors only when approaching Mott Street, just south of Canal Street. That, folks, would be the very first Amplify Library to be installed in New York. Set up back in September, the box is now one of four found across the city. The others take up residence on 44th Street in Sunnyside, on 80th Street and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights and on Linden Street in Bushwick. The enticing destinations are the brainchild of Virginia Polik and Jessica Nelson, who came up with the idea last summer following protests in reaction to George Floyd's death. Not able to participate in the protests in person, Polik decided to contribute to the political mood by moving a step forward from the sort of anti-racism reading lists that took over social media and the news for months. I thought there should be a place where people can share these resources and have better access to them, Polik said to Curbed. And also to books that aren’t just on anti-racist reading lists, but are by BIPOC authors. Making use of her knowledge of carpentry, Polik bought materials to build six libraries herself, which are reminiscent of the Little Free Libraries project that kicked off in the United States back in 2009 and now boasts locations all over the world. The four literary boxes that can already be found in New York are the very ones that Polik built herself. The remaining two are still looking for a permanent address, although Curbed reports that one will be installed in a garden in Harlem. The idea is pretty straightforward: each library is stocked with books solely written by BIPOC writers and catering to all age groups. The founders have partnered with local organizations to watch over, curate and maintain each box, each one reaching out to the duo when in need of more books. Our libraries aim to center and celebrate works by voices that have traditionally been marginalized, with a primary focus on books by Black authors, reads the organization's website. We welcome people to help stock our libraries with books and resources that fit this mission. We encourage people to contribute books not on anti-racist reading lists - we want to avoid pigeonholing BIPOC authors as writers of just racial justice Anyone can donate a tome by either placing it directly into a box or sending it to the initiative by mail, as long as guidelines are followed. On the website, potential donors can find a tool from Teaching Tolerance, a free resource organization for teachers, that will guide their reading donation selection. The questionnaire includes queries the likes of what voices does this text include in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class, age, ability, religion, place, immigration status or LGBT identity? Consider the author's attitudes, beliefs and point of view: do they promote inclusion and equality? Check out this map to find the library closest to you and then embark on a journey to re-stock your at-home reading list with inspiring titles—just make sure to drop a book off as you pick another one up. Source: timeout.com

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