LeBron James Family Foundation’s I PROMISE Village Unveils Little Free Library

By Margret Aldrich

A special Little Free Library book-sharing box made its debut on Read Across America Day at the LeBron James Family Foundation’s (LJFF) I PROMISE Village, a family-first community that serves as transitional housing for I PROMISE families in Akron, Ohio. The project is a team effort carried out by LJFF, the Little Free Library® (LFL) nonprofit organization, JOANN and WKYC Studios.

The Little Free Library is located in a brand-new community reading nook at LJFF’s I PROMISE Village, which provides stable housing and family programming to help kids thrive in school and beyond.

“We created the I PROMISE Village to be a safe space for families that not only gives them a roof over their head, but also life skills, unique resources and enriching programming that can help them achieve their goals,” said Michele Campbell, Executive Director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “In addition to on-site tutor and mentorship opportunities, this Little Free Library will keep our kids and families at the Village reading, which we know can open so many doors and possibilities. In everything we do at the Village, we want to engage and inspire our families to dream bigger than they ever thought possible.”

The library was designed by Cleveland-based fabric and craft company JOANN with a bright and modern paint-by-numbers motif, which was finished by resident I PROMISE families. The reading nook where it is located is also decorated in a fun, colorful style, making it an irresistible destination for young readers.

“Little Free Library has been instrumental in providing reading resources and access to youth, and I PROMISE Village is an exceptional location for one of their physical libraries,” said Amanda Hayes, Director, Corporate Communications, Diversity & Inclusion, JOANN, Inc. “JOANN is delighted to have designed the custom library and nook with an inspiring aesthetic to keep the youth of I PROMISE Village enthralled with books, and the imaginative journey that comes with reading. We support the LeBron James Family Foundation and commend them for the exemplary work they are doing in the Akron area for families in need.”

Representatives from the LeBron James Family Foundation I PROMISE Village, JOANN, and WKYC pose with the new Little Free Library.

This Little Free Library joins hundreds of others in the Cleveland-Akron area and reflects the region’s commitment to creating equitable book access, building community and inspiring a culture of reading.

“Book access is a key contributor to strong reading skills, academic success and a fulfilling life,” said LFL Executive Director Greig Metzger. “Little Free Library is honored to partner with LJFF, JOANN and WKYC to support a broad selection of books we hope will inspire and entertain the I PROMISE Village families.”

The Little Free Library is nestled in a new reading nook designed by JOANN fabric and craft company.

The library will be kept stocked with books for all ages, in keeping with the LeBron James Family Foundation’s whole-family approach to supporting its students. At Tuesday’s unveiling of the book box, the LFL organization donated a large supply of books by multicultural authors, from its Read In Color initiative. WKYC Studios, a partner of LJFF, contributed a collection of storybooks about LeBron James – along with his New York Times’ bestselling children’s book I Promise – in honor of the grand opening, and will continue to donate books and host community book drives to keep the library filled.

Watch video coverage of the event here!

March 2, 2021

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