Community | Spotlight July 2020

Sarah Kamya: Little Diverse Library Project

Sarah Kamya

Little Free Diverse Library Project – Arlington, MA/Nationwide

Mission: To amplify Black voices through books

Bounce salutes community activists and everyday neighborhood heroes, like Sarah Kamya, and her quest to amplify Black voices through books.  Kamya, who is a school counselor in New York City and a devoted book aficionado, launched an Instagram initiative called the Little Free Diverse Library Project.

Through her efforts, she has raised over $9,000 in just 11 days and purchased over 300 books from Black-owned bookstores, written by Black authors, and received about 250 books through Amazon Wish List, to disperse to Little Free Libraries around Arlington, Massachusetts and beyond.

She’s now sending books to friends, and even strangers, in other communities to fill little libraries in their own communities. Eva Chen, the Head of Fashion at Instagram, encouraged Kamya to create an Amazon Wish List account. She then shared Kamya’s idea to her 1.4 million followers, and the results multiplied exponentially from there.

“What started out as a little mission,” Kamya wrote on Instagram, “turned into something much bigger.”

Little Free Diverse Libraries

Growing up in a predominantly White town, Kamya longed for books that represented students of color and of different backgrounds. She always felt as though she wasn’t depicted as much as her peers.

Those peers constantly inquired about her hair and she didn’t have any literature to turn to for guidance on how to process and cope with those questions. Now she can turn to the book “Hair Love,” which celebrates different textures and modalities that Black hair can take.

Little Free Diverse Libraries

Kamya is amazed at how much traction the idea has gained in such a short period of time, and she’s hoping to keep expanding and spreading the initiative.

To learn more about the project, follow @littlefreediverselibraries on Instagram. Kamya is also raising money via Venmo to support Black-owned bookstores around the country. She has also added an Amazon wishlist through which you can purchase and send books directly.

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