What is Reading for Resistance and Little Free Libraries?
Please watch the project video HERE.
Reading has been shown to empower and inspire students; this is much easier when the books the students are reading are about people that are similar to themselves. With this idea in mind the Reading is Resistance movement was born, and has been advocating for more diversity in books. Another program that attempts to give books to everyone within a neighborhood is Little Free Libraries. Both of these programs aren’t really recognized by the general public, and that was our main goal this term. We wanted to see how much people actually knew, and to spread the word about these programs.
Books can act like both mirrors and windows on the world. Mirrors can reﬂect on children’s own lives, and windows can give children a chance to learn about someone else’s life. This type of self-reflection, and opportunity to read or hear about diﬀerent lives is essential for young people. Majority of books contain white characters, and this helps to facilitate racism in our country. By giving minority students books that mirror their own lives we are redistributing the power back to them. Our hope is to eventually give all students a chance to read about a variety of races and cultures, and help to decrease racism in the United States.
To truly get a grasp on well a local community knew about Reading for Resistance and Little Free Libraries our group conducted a survey at a local elementary school. It was open for a week, and anyone could fill it out. We got roughly twenty-four people from the school to participate, but it allowed us to get a base idea of who knew about the programs. We asked them several questions, and was able to get a better understanding of what people knew about these programs. From the results we were able to determine that majority of the people didn’t know a lot; also, those who did were middle-aged white women. This allowed us to determine what age-groups and races to advertise these programs more towards. Once we had the results we were able to create a flyer that was geared more towards the minority.
Once we saw that minorities didn’t know much about either of the programs we created a flyer advertising Little Free Libraries. We wanted to spread the word not only to children, but also to adults. As a group we wanted to show them the benefits of these libraries, and how reading can be very beneficial for their children. The flyer contained background information about both programs, where some are located, why books are important to youth, and at the bottom it contains the website so people can learn more about it. Our hope is that minorities will see the flyer, and start utilizing these libraries.
With our term being only ten weeks long we knew from the beginning we weren’t going to be able to accomplish everything we wanted. Our hope was that future terms would want to finish what we started, so we created a strategic plan for them. This plan outlines in detail our hopes for the project, and will allow future groups to continue on with our work. It gives them our objectives, what we accomplished, and an outline for the following term. Future groups can continue to develop the strategic plan for other groups, and in hope we will continue to spread the word about these programs.