Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Little Free Library Honoring Native Americans Unveiled at Smithsonian

By Native News Online Staff - December 10, 2019 at 12:00AM

Elayne Silversmith, NMAI librarian, displays the beautiful birchbark Little Free Library book-sharing box. (Photo courtesy of the NMAI)

Published December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian has installed a birchbark Little Free Library book-sharing box at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C., donated by the Little Free Library (LFL) nonprofit organization, based in Hudson, Wisconsin. The “take a book, share a book” library seeks to honor Native American culture and increase access to culturally relevant books.

“By fostering a love of reading and increasing availability of free and accurate books about Native Americans, the Little Free Library fits in with the NMAI’s vision of equity and social justice for the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere through education, inspiration and empowerment,” says NMAI representative RenĂ©e Gokey.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the birchbark Little Free Library at the NMAI. (Photo courtesy of the NMAI)

The NMAI library was gifted through LFL’s Native Library Initiative, which places libraries in tribal communities across the nation to meaningfully improve book access. To date LFL has provided more than 60 libraries to tribal communities, working with Native community leaders and partners including the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums. The Native Library Initiative is part of LFL’s Impact Library Program.

“Our goal at Little Free Library is to see that all communities, no matter where they are, have access to books that excite and engage readers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds,” says Greig Metzger, executive director of Little Free Library. “We are honored to do our part to see that happen.”

The NMAI’s striking Little Free Library book-sharing box was created by Pat Kruse, an Ojibwe birchbark and quillwork artist. Kruse is a member at Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and a descendent of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia, Minnesota.

The Little Free Library was created by Ojibwe birchbark and quillwork artist Pat Kruse. (Photo courtesy of Little Free Library)

To learn more about LFL’s Native Library Initiative visit LittleFreeLibrary.org/atalm.

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