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The Hustle

Name: Lorielle J. Hollaway (Cultured Books)

Posted By Bill DeYoung

“Books about black people don’t have to be about slavery or the civil rights movement,” Loretta Hollaway told a reporter in 2020. “I want to show that we have more to our story than struggle.” In a nutshell, that's why the St. Pete native began Cultured Books, a pop-up bookstore, at The Deuces in 2017. Through a variety of programs, including storytimes and community events that combine literacy, art and fun, Cultured Books is making a difference in St. Pete.

Years in Tampa Bay

In south St. Pete, born and raised. Outside is where I spent most of my days.

Hustle (job)

Lit Dreamer.

What do you do?  

I dream big, I dream wide about how Cultured Books can nurture the #literacylifestyle within south St. Pete! Then I call on my commUNITY to help make those dreams a reality.

Why do you do it?

For the babies coming up because the world is theirs! From the curation of culturally relevant titles at the pop-up to culturally responsive programming, I do it for the literacy leaders who will come after me.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

Cultured Books was born out of protest. After the verdict of Zimmerman V. Florida and the high profile murders of Black women, men and children in 2014. Those events led me to get active in my community, attending city council meetings and social justice protests. Ultimately, Cultured Books became my activism. A place where Black children’s existence is affirmed, valued and celebrated but also a place where families can find books that broaden their world view.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

I think a common misconception about what I do is that I’ve authored books. Maybe one day.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

I think the most challenging part of my hustle is staying focused! There’s so much work to be done. From changing the narrative that books with BIPOC protagonists should be read by all, to elevating literacy rates among black student populations, to creating literacy opportunities that welcome readers who read words and some that read only pictures.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Hope the following helps you too.

“We have a tendency of trying to network up, but it’s really about networking across.” -@IssaRae

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
-Edward Hale

What's next for Cultured Books in 2021?

We’re so excited for 2021! We have two big projects we’ll be launching:’Read About It’, a web series that brings books to life through literary based field trips throughout Tampa Bay! @readaboutitseriesand Sunshine City Comic Con!! Save the date for August 14, 2021. @sunshinecitycomiccon

How can I support Cultured Books?

Cultured Books Literacy Foundation, Inc. is looking to fill board positions in 2021. Click the form to receive more info!

More Hustle

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