About KW Little Free Diverse Libraries
The goal of the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Free Diverse Libraries project is to amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous and racialized authors, as well as writers from other historically marginalized groups (2SLGBTQIA+, those with disabilities) and to help educate, inspire and encourage and promote anti-racism across the region.
Donations help fill Little Free Libraries throughout KW or Kitchener's Ward 8 Little Free Diverse Libraries (see more info below) with titles that allow readers to experience and enjoy both "mirror" books (in which they can see their own experiences reflected) and "window" books (in which they can learn about the lived experiences of others).
Books for this project are for folks of all ages, from babies to adults, and include both fiction and non-fiction. All books are labelled with information about the project before they are put into Little Free Libraries. Readers are encouraged to enjoy the books and return them to a Little Free Library near them when finished so the books can circulate and be enjoyed by many.
Since its inception in June 2020, KW Little Free Diverse Libraries has raised thousands of dollars and purchased or collected many hundreds of books that have now been distributed to approximately 275 Little Free Libraries in neighbourhoods across the region and to 12 dedicated Little Free Diverse Libraries in Kitchener's Wards 8 and 10 (see more below). The work continues! Please support this project any way you can -- see options below.
Sarah Kamya and Little Free Diverse Libraries
Little Free Diverse Libraries is the brainchild of Sarah Kamya, a New York City school counsellor and book lover who started this project in June 2020 in her hometown of Arlington, Massachusetts with the goal of amplifying Black voices, celebrating Black stories, and supporting Black-owned book stores. She started small in her own community and the project quickly grew. Sarah's project has now grown into a non-profit called Diverstories.
Sarah has raised thousands of dollars and collected thousands of donated books that have been shipped to all U.S. states. She has inspired people all over the U.S. and Canada to follow suit with Little Free Diverse Libraries projects of their own -- including right here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Thank you, Sarah, for creating this movement!
Be sure to follow Sarah on Instagram @littlefreediverselibraries and, if you are in the U.S., make a donation!
How to Donate
Donate money via PayPal or etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donating money allows us to support independent bookstores. Approximately half the funds raised is spent at Black or Indigenous-owned bookstores in Southern Ontario and half is spent at independent bookstores in Waterloo Region.
Buy books directly from our Indigo book registry (via myregistry.com). There are hundreds of titles to choose from by Black, Indigenous and racialized authors as well as writers from other historically marginalized groups. Books are shipped directly to me, and are then labelled and distributed to our Little Free Diverse Libraries in Wards 8 and 10.
We welcome donations of used books from your own collection. Email me at the address below to arrange for pick-up or drop off. Please ensure the books you're donating are by Black, Indigenous or racialized authors -- or authors from other historically marginalized groups.
Add a book directly to one of our Little Free Diverse Libraries in Kitchener's Ward 8 or 10. See below for a map of locations. Books can be new, used, fiction, non, for children or for adults. Please ensure the book you're donating is by a Black, Indigenous or racialized author -- or an author from another historically marginalized group.
Ward 8 and 10 Little Free Diverse Libraries
Thanks to a City of Kitchener #LoveMyHood neighbourhood grant, Kitchener's Ward 8 is now home to 10 Little Free Diverse Libraries! And Kitchener's Ward 10 is home to two!
These little libraries are spread geographically throughout two of KW's most culturally rich wards, largely in neighbourhoods with an otherwise limited number of little libraries. See below for a map of the Little Free Diverse Libraries now up and running.
These Little Free Diverse Libraries are dedicated to housing titles by Black, Indigenous and racialized authors as well as authors from other historically marginalized groups (e.g., 2SLGBTQIA+ or disabled authors). They work like lending libraries, with the hope that books will be borrowed, then returned for others to enjoy. Signage on both the books and libraries communicate this message in several languages.
We are also counting on members of the community to add books -- of any kind -- just as they would with any other little free library. This will be key to the longterm sustainability of the project. Children's books seem to be especially in demand.
View the map below for the details of each location. Please note that a couple of the libraries are inside, or are indoor-outdoor libraries on wheels that have limited outdoor access depending on the hours at their location.
Anyone is welcome to visit one of these Little Free Diverse Libraries to borrow a book. We hope you might add a book in the process, as well!