SHSU promotes literacy at Emancipation Park

Michelle Wulfson | The ItemSHSU Student Government Association External Affairs Department members Ashely Carter, Anthony Amaya and Jake Hopper stand at Emancipation Park in Huntsville where they’ve donated a Little Free Library to be used by the community.

Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association External Affairs Department has donated a Little Free Library to Emancipation Park in Huntsville, in an effort to give back to the community that hosts them throughout their years of higher education.

Little Free Library is an international non-profit promoting a free neighborhood book exchange to expand access to literature for all, while tightening the threads of a community.

After considering the Sam Houston Memorial Museum duck pond, the Boys & Girls Club of Walker County, city hall, as well as local churches and schools for the placement of the Little Free Library, the SGA members settled on Emancipation Park for its neighborhood atmosphere, the many children that enjoy the park and its remoteness from another library source.

“The Boys & Girls Club is just right down the road, there’s an elementary school that’s right here, a neighborhood and Good Shepherd Mission is right there,” External Affairs director Ashley Carter said. “It’s this part of Huntsville that maybe is slightly underdeveloped, but it’s definitely very community based and it’s a great location for the community to come out.”

While the library is technically under the city’s ownership, SGA will be maintaining the library and has plans to leave their mark on it by decorating the exterior this summer.

In the coming days, the library will be fully stocked with books collected through SGA book drives and the city of Huntsville Parks Department. The community is also encouraged to add to the library collection by leaving items inside the box for others to enjoy. SGA members will interchange its contents to offer different activities and to match different monthly themes, including Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, or history for the Fourth of July.

“We call it ‘youth literacy,’ but it’s really for anyone, I know we even talked about filling it with art supplies, so maybe we could do a little painting or sudoku, just something a little different to get our minds active and to get outside. With COVID especially, it made us all stay inside a little bit more, become a little bit more reserved, some people forgot social skills, and I hope this is a way that we can get out, be a little bit more personal again and get a little more educated,” Carter said.

The Emancipation Park Little Free Library, located off of Martin Luther King Blvd. in Huntsville, is for individuals of all ages and is open to the public as a free resource.

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