Compassion Through Literature
Embracing Diversity One Book at a Time
The banning of books, clothing, flags, signs, and buttons by numerous school districts across the country has increased at an alarming rate over the past few years. This culture of silencing voices and lives creates assumptions and fear, promotes stereotypes and exclusion, and damages self-esteem, increasing the risk and incidence of suicide, and dismisses and diminishes lives. It breaks us.
Our Compassion Through Literature (CTL) project began with a simple idea. Could we build community and foster inclusion by reading books about people whose lives are different than ours?
Reading and sharing diverse books is an opportunity for all of us to increase diversity literacy and make a positive impact in our world. We encourage you to take full advantage of our CTL libraries here in Portland and all Read in Color diverse Little Free Libraries around the world by adding a book that shares some aspect you would like others to know about your life, and by picking up a book about someone else’s life that is unfamiliar to you. Read it with a CURIOUS and OPEN mind, then SHARE it in another library for others to read. TALK about it with others to share what you learn and remember to LISTEN (hold back on those assumptions!). By taking the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes, hearts and eyes could open as we learn about the daily experiences of others.
Thanks to a partnership with The Children’s Book Bank, the Portland Timbers, Third Eye Bookstore, and some skilled craftspeople from the community, 12 libraries were built and installed around the Portland metro region, and our CTL project was off to a sensational start!
Our Project Expansion
In 2022, we were thrilled with the donation of an additional 11 libraries by Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization with a mission to build community, inspire readers and expand book access for all. This donation was through their Read in Color initiative, which distributes books that provide diverse perspectives and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.
We were the thirteenth city to partner with Little Free Library and their Read in Color initiative. In addition, Little Free Library donated 200 books per library to give to the community. Like our original libraries, these 11 new installations are located across the region.
Our Grand Launch Party!
As a symbolic gesture celebrating the launch of all our new diverse CTL Little Free Libraries, we hosted a special event on November 5 at Leikam Brewery, a family-friendly restaurant in Portland—and the site of one of the new libraries! We enjoyed fabulous speakers, Valarie Pearce, Sister Shiso Panda, and Stephen Green; book giveaways; and getting to know even more incredible people in our community.
CTL Little Library Locations
Here is a list of all of our diverse Little Libraries around the region. Please visit one near you to experience the magic of this unique project that fosters compassion!
3161 SW Fairmount Blvd. (Residence - Fairmont Loop)
4106 SW 44th Ave. (Residence - Bridlemile)
5929 SW 48th Ave. (Residence - Hayhurst)
2624 SW California St. (Residence - Multnomah Village)
2200 SW Sunset Dr. (Residence - RGMS)
2518 SE 33rd Ave. (Third Eye Books)
7836 SE 13th Ave. (Milieu Collective)
2230 SE 147th Ave. (Residence)
2803 SE Taylor St. (Residence)
7714 SE Rural St. (Residence)
5185 N Michigan Ave., Unit A (Residence)
6733 N Vancouver (Residence)
Just south of Peninsula Park Rose Garden (Residence)
954 NE 79th Ave. (Residence)
920 NW 25th Ave. (Congregation Shaarie Torah)
5812 East Burnside (Leikam Brewing)
4625 SW Washington Ave. (Puppernickel Bakery)
Green Grove Cohousing Community
500 NE Kane Drive (Gresham Fire Dept. Station 72)
719 E. First St., Newberg (Youth Outreach Yamhill)
211 S. River St., Newberg (Residence)
2307 E. Kennedy Dr., Newberg (Residence)
More About Compassion Through Literature
The Compassion Through Literature project was borne out of the mission of Positive Charge! PDX: to make a positive impact on a collective scale and create community in as many ways as possible. Our first libraries were built by wonderful members of our community and put up around town to help expand our knowledge, understanding, and celebration of all kinds of people, including those of different ages, races, religions, physical and mental diversabilities, gender identities and family structures, financial statuses, cultures, traditions, countries of origin, and more.
Enter Timber Joey of the Portland Timbers. An avid woodworker, Timber Joey made ten libraries himself and brought them to the attention of The Children’s Book Bank. When they heard about our Compassion Through Literature project, Children’s Book Bank suggested that Timber Joey team up with us, which he did! A grand opening was held in May 2022 for the first installation. But the story doesn’t end there!
Recently, Positive Charge! PDX received a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to purchase books for its original libraries directly from Third Eye Books, the only black-owned bookstore in Oregon. This grant has allowed us to continue giving books on diversity, equity, and inclusion to readers throughout our community.
With the addition of 11 additional Little Free Libraries, the Compassion Through Literature project will reach readers of all ages across the Portland metro area.
Timber Joey Library Celebration
Hayhust Elementary & Robert Gray Middle School
Looking for Ideas for Books on Diversity?
Here are links to get you started.
Diverse Book Lists:
- Multnomah Co. Library K-12 Equity & Social Justice Book list
Used Book Options:
New Book Options: