Kids, Community and Cops Program
Building Healthier Communities Through Police Involvement in Literacy
Little Free Library’s Kids, Community, and Cops program helps law enforcement and civic groups create positive interactions with youth by developing their love of reading and giving them more hopeful outcomes.
More and more police departments and cities are investing in Little Free Library because it combines literacy with youth and family engagement.
According to the Department of Justice, youth delinquency, violence and crime are welded to reading failure, yet many don’t have access to reading materials to help develop an interest and confidence in reading.
In fact, according to the Handbook of Early Literacy, in low-income neighborhoods there’s only one book for every 300 children on average. Little Free Library helps to address a lack of book access. Investments in literacy activities on the front end are ways to curb youth crime on the back end.
Promoting Youth Engagement
As visible figures in neighborhoods, police offers have unique perspectives on challenges faced by families and knowledge of what kids may need more resources. At the same time, some kids’ only contact with officers are during crises or incidents creating wariness and mistrust.
Little Free Library helps to break down barriers to mutual understanding by creating positive interactions and building connections between officers and kids. The Minneapolis Police Department has adopted Little Free Libraries.
According to Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, “Kids often interact with police only when something is sad or scary happened. We hope Little Free Library will help residents and police get to know each other a little better because books are a good conversation starter.”
Based on a successful pilot project with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which now has book exchanges near all of its precincts and is installing more in targeted areas, we know that Little Free Libraries are effective community engagement tools for officers.
Says Los Angeles Police Department’s Senior Lead Officer, Heidi Stoecklein, “The LAPD wants to help promote literacy by building safe places for young people to read. We are also building a sense of community allowing young people to see LAPD officers are real people. Little Free Library has had a positive influence on our community’s quality of life and has provided places for neighbors to meet and get to know each other.”
Join Little Free Library in helping to change the dialogue between police and the communities they serve.
“Kids often interact with police only when something sad or scary happened. We hope Little Free Library will help residents and police get to know each other a little better because books are a good conversation starter.”Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau
“We are building a sense of community, allowing young people to see LAPD officers are real people. Little Free Library has had a positive influence on our community’s quality of life and has provided places for neighbors to meet and get to know each other.”LAPD's Senior Lead Officer, Heidi Stoecklein
Police and community representatives or funders interested in learning more about the Little Free Library Kids, Community and Cops program,
should contact Branden Pedersen at bpedersen[at]littlefreelibrary.org.