The past year brought all of us together in two unforeseen ways: the experience of living the COVID-19 pandemic while also facing the systemic racial inequity crisis across the world. Both of these circumstances became unavoidable and brought forth the opportunity to learn more, listen more, and love more inclusively. The Architects of Change student team took deep dives into both arenas of discussion and learning. The result brought our program closer together, while much of society was grappling with being separated. We asked ourselves questions such as, “How can we take this discussion and ensure we are living it?” The discussion of course was twofold; responding to the crises we were concurrently living, while challenging ourselves to align authentically to the CSJ charism of “Unifying Love.” The result: the Architects of Change Little Free Library.
The process of creating a Little Free Library began with an invitation to the student team to submit a design. The designs were then voted upon with the unanimous approval for the choice to emulate the OLP architecture, “bringing the beauty of the inside of our campus to the outside community.” The students deliberated further by discussing the actual purpose of stewarding a Little Free Library and the result concluded with the beautiful commitment to ensure a library that is consistently stocked with intentionally inclusive literary works. Inclusive books are focused materials with a multicultural, multilingual, multi-ability lens. The AOC students are invested in sourcing books for this purpose and excited by the rich experience this stewardship has already brought forth to our program collectively and individually. Student team leader Annya Apodaca ’22 explains it perfectly, “Our mission for the Little Free Library is not just to diversify our outside community but to ensure that we as students are learning and applying a growth mindset within our own AOC team and for our peers.”
Building the community library began at the end of May 2021 under the guidance of the OLP Facilities team lead by Mr. Angel Silva and Mrs. Toni Russo and continued until completion during this summer. The students are hosting a community ribbon cutting on Friday, August 20 at 12:15 pm. More details to follow.