LOUISVILLE, Colo. — A Louisville man is focusing on changing the next chapter of history by helping his local library buy more books about Black history and cultural diversity.
Kevin Gebert retired from the aerospace industry six years ago and started a nonprofit for minority children, but when COVID-19 shut down schools, he found himself with extra time. He used the spare time to read, "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration," by Isabel Wilkerson. It's a book filled with lessons on Black history.
"I read this book and by the time I got a quarter of the way through it, I thought about the impact this book could have on school kids, adults," Gebert said.
His curiosity took him to the Louisville Public Library, where he discovered the book selection on race and cultural diversity was slim. Gebert said the library only had one copy of "The Warmth of Other Suns," and 16 people were on a waitlist.
"It will probably be into next year before everyone has had a chance to read it," he said.
His experience lead to the launch of a fundraiser with the library to expand the collection of culturally diverse books, books about Black history, race and equality.
With the help of friends, Gebert compiled a list of 20 books to add to the library collection.
"(Library staff) are going to go through the list of books that were recommended and they will make the decision as to how many they buy," he said. "We will want to have enough books that people won't have to wait for 16 weeks."
He hopes his mission will spark change in a growing generation and catch on at libraries across the nation.
"If they don't live in Louisville, they can start a similar fundraiser in their community," Gebert said.
If you would like to donate to help buy books, you can write a check to the Louisville Public Library and mail it to 951 Spruce Street in Louisville, CO, 80027. Make sure to include EDI in the memo line, which stands for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. It will ensure the money is used for the purchase of books.