Press releases for Detroit Little Free Libraries

Press Relases

The “summer slide” in reading has already begun in Detroit as children from book-impoverished neighborhoods are slipping behind their peers living in neighborhoods rich with summer reading materials.

But this summer, Alycia Meriweather, the new interim superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, intends to do something about it.

And she needs your help.

The change begins July 28, when summer school ends for hundreds of students, and Meriweather will announce two interwoven campaigns to stop the summer slide and give Detroit’s children a fighting chance.

The first campaign is a Summer Reading Challenge with Detroit Public Library.

The second is to provide free books to kids through the Detroit Schools Little Library Project, a collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, Detroit Little Libraries grassroots campaign, and the national Little Free Library organization.

The goal is bold and has never been done before: Place a little free library at all 97 Detroit public schools. That’s 97 libraries at 97 schools in 97 days! According to the national Little Free Library organization, no school district has ever attempted this and it could become a another touchstone in the national narrative around Detroit’s turnaround.

“If Detroit can pulls this off, it could become a model for cities across the country,” says Tony Bol, of the Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization based outside the Twin Cities. “We’re excited to help Detroit and see where this could go.”

A study by Dr. Susan Neuman, a former University of Michigan professor and literacy expert now at New York University, published a study this month showing just one book for every 42 children in a Detroit neighborhood. Detroit is a great proving ground. Its schools are challenged and many of its neighborhoods are book deserts.

Just one little library at each school has the power and potential to dramatically change those dismal statistics.

For those unfamiliar with a Little Free Libraries, they are dollhouse-size structures that will be placed at each school and kept stocked with children’s books year round. Students simply stop by, open the little library. and take a book. They can keep it or return it when they are done. It’s highly visible and free. Detroit Little Libraries has been working with supporters to give away these little libraries throughout the community, and more than 150 have been planted in front of Detroit homes, small businesses, nonprofits, parks, health care centers, community gardens and more. Last year, Little Free Library Founder Todd Bol honored the work in Detroit and declared it to be the fastest growing city of Little Free Libraries in the nation.

In Detroit, where literacy rates are low, Little Free Libraries Libraries already are changing the paradigm of book access in an era when many schools no longer have libraries, public libraries have shuttered or scaled back hours and transportation issues can hinder residents’ access to libraries that are distant from their homes. The Little Free Library serves as a mini town square where the community can rally around and provide the social justice of reading materials in neighborhoods where studies have shown there is one book to be shared by dozens of children.

Other studies show that one simple thing — giving children access to books — can increase literacy and set students on a trajectory that will change their lives.

“Ultimately, giving kids access to books may be one of the most overlooked solutions to helping ensure kids attend school with the tools they need to succeed,” writes Alia Wong in The Altantic’s July issue. (Read the full article, Where Books Are All But Nonexistent, here: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/where-books-are-nonexistent/491282/

Meriweather and partnering organizations will be launching the Summer Reading Challenge and Detroit School Little Library campaign with a July 28 press event, including a ceremonial on-school-site planting of the little library she’s sponsored, and a bold call to the community to come together for this monumental quest.

Please join us. The time is short. The mission critical and bold. Please email Detroit Little Library founder Kim Kozlowski at detroitlittlelibraries@gmail.com or call (313) 595-4845 to learn more and set up interviews with those involved.

 Michigan State Fair adds Little Free Library prize program for Detroit Urban Gardens

Thursday Sept 1-Monday Sept 5, Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi

Download PDF of release

NOVI, MI: The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, September 1-5 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, celebrates Michigan’s literary traditions with a special appearance Thursday September 1 by popular young adult book author Jonathon Rand, creator of the Michigan Chillers and American Chillers mystery book series, presented by Chrysler Pacifica! It’s a grand kick off to a weekend long “Reader’s Round-Up” featuring a broad slate of talented Michigan authors that will be visiting the State Fair to meet readers of all ages and sign books for their fans. The State Fair will also be hosting an exhibit of Little Free Libraries decorated by local artists that will be installed at Urban gardens in Detroit this fall, stocked with books and aimed at fostering a love of reading for Michigan residents of all ages in the city. Current State Fair schedule and advance ticket sales information can be found at “In little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from being a fairly average state for student achievement to the bottom 10 in key school quality indicators such as fourth-grade reading. Michigan is suffering systemic failure across racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups in early reading and middle-school math, according to a new report just released by The Education Trust-Midwest…”

Amber Arellano, Executive Director, Education Trust-Midwest, The Detroit News, May 31, 2016 The latest scores have indicated that literacy rates in Michigan are dropping precipitously; the state is currently ranked in the bottom ten states in the nation for 4th grade reading proficiency. “This is a “grass and farm” roots initiative to create easy access and put books in the hands of youth and adults in the city,” says Steve Masters, State Fair Executive Director, “We are very excited about long term prospects for this program to foster literacy around the already thriving urban garden hubs in Detroit.”

The grand old traditions surrounding the Michigan State Fair recall a simpler time; when books were a primary source of knowledge and entertainment, encourage us to revisit rituals and pastimes of an earlier age. From tending the earth, planting, harvesting and preserving foods, to storytelling, community gathering and sharing of resources, it is all about slowing down and a return to our roots in an increasingly fast paced 21st Century society.

“During the summer months when the youth are out of school, it is so critical to encourage reading,” says Jerry Ann Hebron, Executive Director, Northend Christian CDC and Oakland Ave Farm Market, “We find that the young people we work with in disadvantaged communities are reading well below their grade level, as well as not understanding what they have read. We are hopeful that having access to Little Free Libraries in the community gardens and urban farms, conveniently located in Detroit neighborhoods, will encourage youth and adults to take time to read more.”

More…

Kim Kozlowski, founder of a grassroots campaign working to promote reading through the Little Free Libraries in Detroit, adds that new research by a former University of Michigan professor shows that there are stark disparities between the number of books available to Detroit children and their suburban counterparts. “We are working to increase the circulation of more books for children in Detroit to help give them tools to be successful in school, and life,” said Kozlowski, of Detroit Little Libraries. “Reading has so many benefits, but among the most important is it builds vocabulary. Words help people define others, and themselves. A vast vocabulary has the potential to change the trajectory of The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair is dedicated to supporting the resurgence of agricultural practices across the state, including the rapidly expanding Urban Ag movement in many of our cities.

Detroit has been hailed nationally as a leader in the greening of blighted neighborhoods and also in educating youth about how to successfully plant, harvests and prepare their own fruits and vegetables. Along with the terrific community energy surrounding the Detroit urban farm movement, there is also a great momentum building around the Detroit Little Free Libraries non-profit organization, placing colorful, artful, tiny free library boxes, filled with books for children and adults to enjoy, in many neighborhoods across the city. Numbering greater than 150 in Detroit alone at last count, these little free libraries nurture discussion, connection and literacy wherever they are placed. Internationally, the Little Free Libraries organization now boasts more than 35,000 tiny free library boxes placed around the world. For more on the Detroit chapter, please visit www.detroitlittlelibraries.org

The Michigan State Fair, LLC will install 20 brand new Little Library Boxes at some of the most high profile and popular Urban Garden locations in Detroit, filled with donated books for adults and children, with a focus on Michigan authors and origins. To add even more fun, we are inviting select artists and organizations in the city to decorate a Little Free Library box with a Michigan Agriculture theme, and Fair-goers and Facebook fans will vote on their favorites, with the best awarded cash prizes of $1000, $500, $250 and $100 at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair on Labor Day Weekend, September 1-5, 2016. More information about the Little Library Prize Program and Readers Roundup at

Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair adds another day for 2016 Now open Thursday September 1!

For additional information, please contact Nancy Schoenheide-Phares, 248.486.3424 office, 248.390.7340 cell

NPhares@MichiganStateFairLLC.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 15, 2014

Contact: Kim Kozlowski, 313-595-4845

National Little Free Library Founder pledges 20 LFL to campaign to make Detroit the Little Free Library Capital of the World

As the campaign to make Detroit the Little Free Library Capital of the World gets underway, the founder of the LFL movement pledged 20 libraries to the project.

Todd Bol — who founded the first Little Free Library in Wisconsin – pledged to bring 20 LFL to Detroit in a trailer he will drive out from Wisconsin in Novemeber.

Bol made the pledge after Kim Kozlowski launched a $25,000 campaign last weekend to make Detroit the Little Free Library Capital of the World on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.

Kozlowski launched the campaign on her birthday, asking her Facebook friends to skips the wishes and instead support literacy and community in Detroit. That same night, she was featured on a local televion station, talking about how her own LFL brought her community together.

“I am channelling my inner Gloria Steinem,” said Kim Kozlowski, referring to the feminist and activist who has raised money for charities on her birthday. “This is a way for me, and others, to play a small role in Detroit’s comeback.”

This project would build on the growing movement of Little Free Libraries — the “take a book, leave a book” phenomenon of small boxes filled with free books and sprinkled around neighborhoods. It is unclear how many Little Free Libraries already exist in Detroit but Bol estimated that there are nearly 20,000 LFL around the world, including one in Antarctica, remote islands in Canada, as well as Russia, Thailand and the Yukon Territoris. Some people with RVs even put their LFL out at their campsites when they travel around the country.

Along with other supporters, the project partners are partnering with the End Grain Woodworking Co., a woodworking duo who will build the little libraries from reclaimed wood salvaged from abandoned Detroit houses.

Never has there been a better time to build 313 little libraries for Detroit, since the city is at a historic moment, climbing out of bankruptcy and poised for a comeback. Citizens also have long struggled with literacy, and many Detroit libraries have limited hours, and some have even shut down.

We are using the crowdfunding platform Indeigogo to raise money to build 313 little free libraries. We wrote a proposal, built a video, put it online and now are marketing it with social media to reach supporters.

Crowdfunding is a worldwide phenomenon. When combined with promotion through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, crowdfunding has helped raise money for new business owners, musicians, nonprofits, individuals and more.

In May, the United Kingdom-based Crowd Funding Centre released a report showing that the practice is growing globally, more than doubling every 60 days. The report estimated that 18,000 to 22,000 projects are open at any time.

Our inspiration came from a Little Free Library in our own neighborhood. Then we put up one in front of our house. Soon after, people discovered it, took and left books. And we’ve since met many neighbors we’d never known.

“What a wonderful addition to the neighborhood!” one neighbors wrote in a note. “Thank you so much for for bringing this to share with us all, I look forward to bringing more books down and finding one to read also.”

See a video and more here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/detroit-biggest-little-library-in-the-world

Website: detroitlittlelibraries.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Sept. 12, 2014
Contact: Kim Kozlowski, 313-595-4845

Today is my birthday.

But instead of celebrating with cake, I am launching a $25,000 fundraiser to promote literacy and community in Detroit with Little Free Libraries.

“I am channeling my inner Gloria Steinem,” said Kim Kozlowski, referring to the feminist and activist who has raised money for charities on her birthday. “This is a way for me, and others, to play a small role in Detroit’s comeback.”

This project would build on the growing movement of Little Free Libraries — the “take a book, leave a book” phenomenon of small boxes filled with free books and sprinkled around neighborhoods. It is unclear how many Little Free Libraries already exist in Detroit, but the Wisconsin-based founder of the movement, Todd Bol, estimated that there 20,000 worldwide.

Along with other supporters, I am partnering with a woodworking duo who will build the little libraries from reclaimed wood salvaged from abandoned Detroit houses.

Never has there been a better time to build 313 little libraries for Detroit, since the city is at a historic moment, climbing out of bankruptcy and poised for a comeback. Citizens also have long struggled with literacy, and many Detroit libraries have limited hours, and some have even shut down.

We are using the crowdfunding platform Indeigogo to raise money to build 313 little free libraries. We wrote a proposal, built a video, put it online and now are marketing it with social media to reach supporters.

When combined with promotion through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, crowdfunding has helped raise money for new business owners, musicians and nonprofits.

Last month, an Ohio man raised $55,000 to make a bowl of potato salad through a crowdfunding campaign. It’s also a worldwide phenomenon. In May, the United Kingdom-based Crowd Funding Centre released a report showing that the practice is growing globally, more than doubling every 60 days. The report estimated that 18,000 to 22,000 projects are open at any time.

Our inspiration came from a Little Free Library in our own neighborhood. Then we put up one in front of our house. Soon after, people discovered it, took and left books. And we’ve since met many neighbors we’d never known.

“What a wonderful addition to the neighborhood!” one neighbors wrote in a note. “Thank you so much for for bringing this to share with us all, I look forward to bringing more books down and finding one to read also.”

indiegogo logoSee the Indiegogo campaign:

Watch the video:

White Papers & Studies

Access to print in low-income and – middle-income communities: An ecological study of four neighborhoods

Susan B. Neuman Universityf of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Donna Celano Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There is now a vast body of accumulated evidence on socioeconomic status differences in literacy achievement (Donahue, Voelkl, Campbell, & Mazzeo, 1999; Jencks, 1973; Madden, Slavin, Karweit, Dolan, & Wasik, 1993; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). It is widely known that children reared in middleclass homes with well-educated parents will generally thrive; those who do not are likely to start school behind and stay behind, with patterns of underachievement especially stark for children of diverse cultural, linguistic, and racial backgrounds (Jencks & Phillips, 1998; Juel, Griffith, & Gough, 1986; Natriello, McDill, & Pallas, 1990). Hypotheses for these differences usually reflect some combination of status factors. Low-income households, single parents, and poorly educated mothers essentially add up to large estimations of risk for school failure.

Read full study

Watch a presentation by study author Susan Neuman

The Effects of Vocabulary Intervention on Young
Children’s Word Learning: A Meta-Analysis
Loren M. Marulis and Susan B. Neuman
University of Michigan

Abstract:

This meta-analysis examines the effects of vocabulary interventions on pre-K and kindergarten children’s oral language development. The authors quantitatively
reviewed 67 studies and 216 effect sizes to better understand the impact of training on word learning. Results indicated an overall effect size of .88, demonstrating, on average, a gain of nearly one standard deviation on vocabulary measures. Moderator analyses reported greater effects for trained adults in providing the treatment, combined pedagogical strategies that included explicit and implicit instruction, and author-created measures compared to standardized measures. Middle- and upper-income at-risk children were significantly more likely to benefit from vocabulary intervention than those students also at risk and poor. These results indicate that although they might improve oral language skills, vocabulary interventions are not sufficiently powerful to close the gap—even in the preschool and kindergarten years.

Read full study here

Book Deserts: The Consequences of Income Segregation on Children’s Access to Print

by

Susan Neuman, professor at New York University

Published in Urban Education, July 5, 2016

Abstract

We examine the influence of income segregation on a resource vital to young children’s development: a family’s access to books in early childhood. Income segregation reflects the growing economic segregation of neighborhoods for people living in privilege (1%) compared to those in poverty or near-poverty (20%). After describing recent demographic shifts, we examine access to print for children in six urban neighborhoods. Results indicate stark disparities in access to print for those living in concentrated poverty. We argue that such neighborhoods constitute ‘book deserts’ which may seriously constrain young children’s opportunities to come to school “ready to learn.”

 

Read the full study

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