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Little Town Libraries

Stephen & Ayesha Curry Unveil New “Little Free Library” at Franklin Elementary School, the First of its Kind in Oakland

Oakland - Thursday morning, March 31 was busy and exciting at Franklin Elementary as dozens of students got the chance to take part in the installation and unveiling of what’s called a Little Free Library, a colorful box with glass doors that now resides in the schoolyard containing new books for students to read anytime. The stars of the hour were special guests, Stephen and Ayesha Curry, as their organization, Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation played a key role in revamping the yard last year, and they facilitated bringing the Little Free Library to Franklin. Their likenesses appear on the sides of the Library.

In the spring of 2021, Eat. Learn. Play. along with CarMax, Kaboom!, Under Armour and OUSD unveiled the bright new play yard with murals, a new play structure, basketball court, and garden. The March 31 event put the cherry on top of this educational sundae to help students become outstanding readers.

“As you can see, these books are all really, really impactful, cause they let you use your imaginations, they can take you to a lot of different places in the world, some that are real, some that are make believe. But, we have fun, and we get to enjoy all the different stories that are in here. I hope you all continue to read, continue to have fun, continue to listen to your teachers. And thank you all for coming out, I appreciate you all,” Stephen Curry said to a group of students after he read to them the book, “You Matter” by Christian Robinson.

Franklin’s new Library is the first of what will be 150 easy-to-access libraries that will be installed across Oakland. “We believe that any person should be able to find a personally relevant book, and not be limited by where they live, how much money they make, or where they’re from. And that’s why a Little Free Library in every community is a goal that we have,” said Greig Metzger, Executive Director of the organization, Little Free Library.

Of course, having Stephen Curry at school wasn’t just about reading. He helped students run through an obstacle course, and work on their skills on the basketball court that bears his name. As Curry worked with some students, one tall, but sneaky fifth grader named Mearie Cherry came in behind him and dunked the ball. “It’s amazing. I just wanted to show him my skills, and that he inspires me with basketball, so I was trying to see, ‘can I dunk on him,’ and see if it would work, and it did,” she said, beaming with excitement. It surprised Curry, but then, he helped Mearie try a trick shot (in the video above) as he bounced the ball off the backboard to her for another dunk.

“This is the most exciting event I have had in school. I like to read at home, but I am busy with homework,” said third grader Huy Truong (pictured) after getting to work with Curry. He added that the NBA All-Star has inspired him to spend more time reading. And that’s exactly the point of the Little Free Library.

After unveiling the Library, Ayesha Curry explained to the students about each book it will hold, “You can take it home with you, bring it back when you are finished if you wish, or keep it home with you. This will always be packed with books for you guys.”

OUSD will be working to get more of these libraries installed at District schools.