Detroit Launches ‘Read in Color’ Initiative to Share Diverse Books in Little Free Libraries

By Margret Aldrich

We are thrilled to announce that the Read in Color diverse books initiative has arrived in Detroit! Working in partnership with Brilliant Detroit we are bringing 14 new Little Free Library book-sharing boxes and roughly 2,500 diverse books to high-impact neighborhoods to help promote understanding, equity, and inclusion.

The first Read in Color Little Free Library in Detroit was unveiled at Brilliant Detroit’s Chandler Park location with a ribbon-cutting, poets, literacy activities, and free books for kids. The library is filled with books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice; amplify BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other diverse voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.

It’s critical that families and their children see themselves and their neighbors reflected in the books they read—books that incorporate lived experiences, as well as the experiences of others who may be different,” said Cindy Eggleton, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Detroit. “We know when children are able to relate to the characters in the stories they read, they are more likely to be inspired and to excel academically and in life.”

By partnering with Little Free Library’s Read in Color initiative, Brilliant Detroit will be able to install libraries featuring books that celebrate BIPOC voices at all 14 of our community hubs,” Eggleton continued. “Our communities are beautiful and unique because of their diversity, and now thanks to Read in Color, we will have free, accessible books that reflect and celebrate this diversity. We are so grateful to Little Free Library for helping us make stories by marginalized voices available in Detroit.”

LFL’s national Read in Color initiative was introduced in Minneapolis last year in response to George Floyd’s murder. It has since rolled out in Washington, D.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boston, New York, and now Detroit.

“As Little Free Library continues the expansion of its Read in Color initiative across the nation, we are excited to welcome Brilliant Detroit to our roster of outstanding community partners,” said Greig Metzger, LFL’s executive director. “Our success in bringing diverse books to local neighborhoods relies on strong literacy advocates like Brilliant Detroit. This launch continues the Read in Color strategy of marshalling national resources to provide diverse books at the local level.”

Support for Read in Color in Detroit was generously provided by HarperCollins Publishers via its Read in Full Color program and Scholastic via its Power of Story program. The little libraries also will include books written by student authors from the nonprofit writing center 826michigan.

LFL’s national Read in Color initiative has four key components:

  1. Little Free Library installations full of culturally relevant books, placed in high-need communities.
  2. Free diverse books for applying LFL stewards, purchased from independent and BIPOC-owned bookstores when possible.
  3. Recommended reading lists representing Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, LGBTQ+ and other communities.
  4. Read in Color pledge, allowing everyone to show their support for diverse books and to access downloadable resources.

Get involved: Learn more and sign the Read in Color pledge!

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