BUFFALO, N.Y. — Just because the first anniversary of the Buffalo mass shooting has passed, it doesn’t mean the fight to educate and empower children, and even adults, is over.

Books are always a great way to venture into the world’s unknown or see that someone who looks like you is capable of great things. Since it started, East Buffalo's Little Free Libraries has taken on a life of its own.

What You Need To Know

  • 16 little libraries dot Buffalo, with about another 16 to 18 waiting for homes

  • More than 1,000 books are on hand to fill the libraries 

  • The goal continues to be educating and empowering children and adults 

  • Poet Laureate Jillian Hanesworth wants readers to turn their knowledge into tools for change

Getting what she gives, Buffalo’s Poet Laureate Jillian Hanesworth is filled up the spine with love for her city. On this day, she’s helping Linda Gellman find a little library for her Elmwood Village home.

With Gellman set, it’s time to load up another car and drop off a library along Fillmore Avenue. 

“Students at Health Sciences Charter School painted them red, black and green, and then she added her own touches to it,” Hanesworth said.

“It’s amazing to watch it grow; it really just shows the importance the community sees around this project,” Hanesworth said.

When Spectrum News 1 first met Hanesworth over at Erie 1 BOCES, the project’s first chapter was still being written.

“Right now we have about 16 out, with about another 16 to 18 waiting for homes,” Hanesworth said.

They’re not just in front yards, either. Barbershops are home to a few, too.

“People use it, so it’s not like it’s sitting here collecting dust, no,” said Angel Lee, loc stylist at Buffalo Wave Cutterz. “Because people are so into their phones. They just want to go the internet and look for something. Books are more interesting because then you can use your imagination.”

More than 1,000 books are on hand to fill the little libraries. That number is only growing, and so is the number of community partners.

“There’s power in education and in learning, and when you open a book, not only do you see a new perspective and a new world, you see what’s possible for yourself,” Hanesworth said.

“Turn these books into a wealth of knowledge, and use this knowledge to determine the role our city plays for us, the role public safety plays in our city, and the role housing plays in our city,” Hanesworth said.

If you are interested in either donating your time, supplies, books or giving one of the little libraries a home, contact Hanesworth here.