HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A student Club at Holyoke Community College is running a children’s book drive starting Saturday to create a “Little Free Library” in the Holyoke Flats.

The Latinx Empowerment Association has scheduled three different dates in February in different parts of the city where people can drop off donated books:

  • Saturday, February 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. in front of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute at 164 Race Street
  • Sunday, February 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. in front of the Dam Café, 2014 Northampton Street
  • Sunday, February 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. in front of Ely Court, 70 Lyman Street

People who bring books should look for a white Kia Optima parked in the street with its trunk open and a sign reading “book drive here.”

Club members are asking people to wear masks and respect social distancing guidelines.

According to a news release sent to 22News from HCC, they are accepting donations of all kinds of children’s books but are emphasizing that books that deal with topics of race, cultural heritage and representation, and LGBTQ+ issues be donated.

“Our intention is to provide low-income families with access to a diverse range of books during the pandemic and winter months,” Miren Neyra Alcantara LEA Club President said. “We believe in the power of literacy and education and are committed to social justice.”

According to the news release, the idea began as a book donation and distribution for children who live in the Holyoke Flats, one of the poorest sections of the city. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, club members decided to turn the project into a “Little Free Library.”

“While two Little Free Libraries have been established in Holyoke, their locations in the Highlands mean they are not easily accessible to children living in the Flats. As a club, we believe that representation matters, especially during this alienating time,” LEA Club member Alex Santiago, the lead organizer said.

A specific location for the library has not yet been decided.

The club has also created an Amazon Wish List for people who want to donate books but cannot make it to one of the book drive days.