Steph and Ayesha Curry are fostering youth development through the joy of books.
After launching their free bookstore school bus last year, the Currys are now helping to construct mini-libraries throughout the Oakland, California, area.
On Wednesday, the couple announced plans to create 150 “Little Town Libraries” around Oakland in an effort to encourage book sharing and childhood literacy in the community, CBS San Francisco reported.
“We want to encourage kids to read by making it accessible, fun and inspirational,” Stephen and Ayesha Curry said in a statement.
“We hope that these free, book-sharing libraries will help plant the seeds needed to continue growing a culture of literacy for the next generation in Oakland.”
The new initiative is a joint effort between Steph and Ayesha’s nonprofit Eat. Learn. Play. and Little Free Library, a network of nearly 150,000 tiny libraries placed outside homes and businesses around the world for purpose of book sharing.
Leading with literacy! Ayesha & Stephen Curry are helping install 150 "Little Town Libraries" all over Oakland through @eatlearnplay — More tonight at 4, 6 & 11 on @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/up4DrsSBqE
— Chris Alvarez (@CAlvarezABC7) March 31, 2022
Franklin Elementary in Oakland was the first to unveil its mini-library. The libraries will be placed in underserved communities, including East and West Oakland, Fruitvale, and Chinatown. Over 50,000 free books are expected to be distributed as part of the program.
The initiative was made in response to declining literacy rates throughout the Oakland area, ABC 7 reported. Eat. Learn. Play cites studies that show 1 in 3 children, or 33% are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. However, in Oakland after two years of virtual learning, only 15.4% of Black and 12.5% of Latino/a elementary students are reading at grade level.
“From kindergarten through third grade, making sure you are reading at your grade level by the time you get to third grade determines your educational future,” Ayesha Curry said. “So for us, turning those numbers around is really, really important.”
“These boxes, can hopefully make the access to literacy resources and service these kids in a fun way and accessible way,” Steph Curry said.
“Like Ayesha said 150 of these are going to go around Oakland and the right areas and locations. But that means 30,000 books at the hands of kids that need the inspiration, the tools to develop at the right ages and hopefully bring an amazing experience of fun to reading which is what it’s all about.”