Tracy Aiden with Peter Braithwaite and the "Little Free Library" in front of Braithwaite's home.

The Royalty Reads Little Free Library program is expanding from Evanston’s 5th Ward into the 2nd Ward this year.

Organizer Tracy Drummer Aiden, daughter of former 2nd Ward Alderman Dennis Drummer, told residents at a ward meeting Thursday evening that she’s seeking volunteers to host the library stands in their front yards and donors to support the program.

Aiden says Royalty Reads program installed eight book kiosks in the 5th Ward last year and put up the first one in the 2nd Ward at Alderman Peter Braithwaite’s house on Easter Sunday.

She has plans to install five more in public parks around the ward — Grandmother Park, Harbert Payne Park, Mason Park, Penny Park and Smith Park — this spring and hopes to raise funds for even more.

Tracy Aiden, speaking at the online ward meeting.

Aiden, who teaches at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, says on the GoFundMe page for the project that “our young Black and brown kings and queens deserve to be surrounded by images that allow them to see their majestic selves represented on the pages of the books placed in our Little Free Libraries.”

She says that it costs about $500 to build one of the miniature libraries and fill it with books.

“We want to give kids and adults access to free books. The idea is to take a book, and leave a book, bring it back, swap it out,” Aiken said. It’s an answer for people who do not have transportation to a library or face other constraints, she added.

Aiden says the project also has a curated book list on Amazon for people who would like to donate one or more books to the program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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