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Walden News // Sep 08, 2021

Walden University Launches Mini Community Libraries

Principal Kelly Carideo
Principal Kelly Carideo

Minneapolis—September 8, 2021Walden University is continuing its Mobilize for Good initiative by launching Walden Community Libraries, which facilitate free neighborhood book exchanges through mini libraries. In addition to community members being able to take and leave books, Walden is stocking the mini libraries with books that have a special focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, promoting authors and literary characters from diverse backgrounds. The libraries will be built in 10 communities across the United States, including in Houston, Texas, Tampa, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia.

More than 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. In the U.S. alone, 25 million children cannot read proficiently.

“It's so important for children to begin reading at a young age,” says Isaac Cudjoe, director of Walden’s Center for Social Change. “At Walden University, our hope is that these community libraries will be a catalyst for others to join us to help improve education for all students. These libraries are an opportunity for us to connect with communities who need our help and can benefit from our students' and alumni's passion for social change.”

To celebrate International Literacy Day, Walden’s first mini community library is stationed at Beechfield Elementary Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland. The library will include a variety of books such as Tami Charles' “All Because You Matter,” Julia Cook's “Uniquely Wired,” Vashti Harrison's “Think Big, Little One,” Hilda Eunice Burgos' “The Cot in the Living Room,” and Oge Mora's “¡Gracias, Omu!”

“Money and socioeconomics should not be the reason students can't have access to what they need and deserve,” says Kelly Carideo, principal of Beechfield Elementary Middle School. “We have to answer the call for equity, and Walden University is helping us in that mission. I want to make sure we’re creating lifelong, literate learners who believe they can achieve success, no matter their circumstances.”

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 43 million U.S. adults possess low literacy skills. Literacy is linked to better health, higher levels of civic engagement and higher wages. The nation could be losing up to $2.2 trillion annually due to low adult literacy rates, according to a study released by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Gallup.

“When you think of the social determinants of health, education is often neglected despite its strong ties to health and wellbeing,” says Paula Singer, CEO and interim president of Walden. “Education has a lifelong impact, and it's important to invest in access and opportunity at all levels, from K-12 to higher education, because it can help address and improve systemic inequalities.”

To learn more about Walden Community Libraries, please visit WaldenU.edu/community-libraries.

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