Charity plans to place 20 ‘Little Free Diverse Libraries’ around Duval County

1st library is in Riverside; 904Ward wants community input on where next 19 should go

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville charity is giving people access to books in mobile libraries called “Little Free Diverse Libraries” that will be all around Duval County.

The first is on King Street near Roosevelt Boulevard in the Riverside neighborhood, south of the I-10 overpass.

Another 19 will be added across the county, and people can submit ideas for where those should be placed at

Inside each of the libraries -- which are painted by local artists -- will be at least 30 books.

Kimberly Allen, the CEO of 904Ward, a charity committed to ending racism and building relationships, started the effort to represent the stories of people in this community.

This comes as schools review books in response to a new state law, and some educators are “erring on the side of caution” and removing all books from their shelves in their classrooms and libraries.

“There are places in the community that folks can go, adults and young people to still have access to fiction and non-fiction books about people in marginalized communities by authors of color, people from the LGBTQ+ community, people who have lived their lives on the margins for a lot of times,” Allen said.

This first library is dedicated to the late Bryant Rollins, who was a journalist and author who fought for social and racial justice, especially during the Civil Rights Movement.

His widow, Shirley Stetson, is honored by this first library being named after her late husband.

“The entire world is trying to grapple with how we can make peace with each other, and Bryant would have said to them -- as did Martin Luther King Jr. -- all meaningful and lasting change begins on the inside,” Stetson said.

Hope McMath runs Yellow House Art Gallery, which is a space for art that is socially conscious. McMath calls books “bridge builders.”

“Trying to make sure that our children and adults in our community, have regular access to information, to knowledge, to free expression, to creativity,” McMath said.

They say this is their way of creating change.

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