The Brooklyn Public Library is offering membership to all US teens ages 13-21 to combat the rampant banning of books. We first spotted this news at The Verge. The library is making banned books available through using digital library cards. People reported more banned books last year than in any time since the American Library Association (ALA) started keeping track in 1990. Black and/or LGBTQIA+ persons wrote most of the books.
Even if only a few people challenge a book and ask for its removal, it restricts everyone’s access. These reports concern classrooms as well as both school and public libraries. The ALA publishes a list every year of the top 10 challenged books. Many cases cite the inclusion of “LGBTQIA+ content.” This is nothing short of a bigoted attack and the Brooklyn Public Library is pushing back. Guess what, the world has LGBTQIA+ content. And so should our books!
BPL is combating the negative impact of increased censorship and book bans in libraries across the country with #BooksUnbanned. With libraries facing an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books from library shelves. Learn more at https://t.co/4sPbslW817 pic.twitter.com/OqhNH45JJU— Brooklyn Public Library (@BKLYNlibrary) April 22, 2022
Brooklyn Public Library’s free access to ebooks allows young people to make their own choices. To read and expand their mind as they discover who they are and who they want to be. The library has made books on the “frequently challenged” list always available to their members so there’s not even a waiting list. They also have other resources to encourage youth readers.
The banning of books happens in fiction too, meant as a warning again censorship. It is the central theme of Fahrenheit 451, which is non-ironically banned in some libraries and classrooms. The video game (and subsequent movie) Detention also takes place amongst an authoritarian nightmare that is all too recognizable right now.
Read the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read” statement, originally published in 1953 but updated as (sadly) necessary. If you’re looking for book recommendations, Nerdist‘s Rosie Knight posts a monthly list!
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. Her favorite place to read is in a gently swaying hammock. Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.