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One Book Can Change a Life: OPL and Prezdential Basketball's joint reading campaign empower Ottawa's youth

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Jan 26, 2024

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is pleased to share one of its latest community development project, in partnership with non-profit organization Prezdential Basketball, "One Book Can Change a Life" – a reading campaign, which launched in October 2023, to help ensure  youth know they are welcome at the Library.

At a time where youth may perceive that libraries aren't for them, the campaign aimed to change that narrative. The "One Book Can Change a Life" campaign’s goal was to further meaningful conversations, build community engagement, empower social awareness – particularly for racialized youth, and establish the idea that books are catalysts for personal growth. This past fall, the Library in collaboration with Manock Lual, Co-Founder of Prezdential Basketball, visited four gyms in diverse neighborhoods across the city of Ottawa. Participants played basketball, engaged in discussions about the influence of books, and received free copies of the informative book "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Jason Reynolds and Ibrahim X. Kendi.

Prezdential Basketball’s media team produced a series of video content, all with the goal of sharing an inspiring vision about the transformative power of books.  "This is an excellent occasion to foster a sense of belonging and help youth to recognize the library as a space where their voices, experiences, and journeys are not only acknowledged, but also valuable” said Lual about collaborating with OPL.  We hope this initiative encourages youths to embark on a journey towards knowledge and personal development.” Prezdential Basketball and OPL’s collaborative social media efforts have reached more than 40,000 accounts thus far.
The "One Book Can Change a Life" campaign represents a step forward in addressing the needs of marginalized youth in Ottawa. Prezdential Basketball is committed to bridging the gap faced by disadvantaged youth. Their mission supports OPL's vision to provide free access to cultural-specific arts and literacy, among other resources.  Both organizations believe the time invested will make a lasting impact on the lives of young individuals who participated in the campaign-related events in Carlington, Hunt Club, Ledbury Banff, and Lowertown areas. OPL is dedicated to breaking down accessibility barriers and making the library a place where every member of the community feels welcome. This partnership is also a great opportunity to engage and introduce youth to the huge range of resources and services available to them at the Library.

Additionally, Lual curated a selection of diverse recommended reads, including titles on the themes of social justice, self-help geared for men, captivating basketball literature, and works celebrating black joy. Check out the book lists below.
To conclude, the campaign brought youth participants together for a discussion related to library stigmas, the importance of reading, impactful books, and a few other topics. The full video is available to watch on YouTube. The book, "Stamped" by Jason Reynolds and Ibrahim X Kendi, is available to borrow from OPL in physical, audio and eBook format.

Self-help for Young Men
by Collection_Development

Black Joy
by Collection_Development

Books for teens and young adults

Basketball Reads
by Collection_Development

For teens and young adults

Social Justice/Anti-Racist Reads
by Collection_Development

For teens and young adults