Imagine being told that you are not allowed to read or access the book of your choice. This is the experience of many teens in the United States, as books dealing with gender, sexual orientation and race are being pulled from shelves in schools and public libraries. Thankfully, the Brooklyn Public Library is fighting heroically against whitewashing literature and getting rid of books related to the LGBTQ+ community and social movements like Black Lives Matter. The library has taken a stand and will be generously offering free e-cards to anyone between the ages of 13 and 21 for a limited time. An exciting 500,000 books will be freely accessible online for eCard holders, including many that have been removed or recently banned.
Censorship and banning of books are attempts by a group of people to restrict access to books and the ideas they contain for ideological or political reasons. While the move is often seen as a protective measure by those implementing the ban, many see restricting access to books as a detrimental practice for people’s right to learn, think, imagine and create. At a time when information is free and easily accessible to anyone in most countries, trying to ban books that focus on racism, sex or gender is seen as an attempt to exclude and demean others.
Among the iconic and old books pulled from the shelves are Harper Lee’s to kill a robinToni Morrison’s bluest eyesand Alice Walker’s Purple. Each of these books embodies literature’s greatest gift—they allow us to think in our own perspective. When we can develop empathy, we can decide for ourselves how we should behave ethically in the world—to ourselves and the people we know.
Nick Higgins, director of the Brooklyn Public Library, said, “Public libraries represent all of us in a diverse society where we live with other people, with other ideas, with other perspectives and perspectives, and that’s healthy. Democracy — not closing access to views or voices we disagree with, but expanding access to those voices and having conversations and ideas we agree with and ideas we disagree with.”
So what is the question, many will ask, when will people who have banned books in schools and public libraries still be able to buy them in bookstores and online? The problem arises when people earning the minimum wage but no disposable income rely on literature that can only be obtained from libraries and schools. Children and young people who do not yet have an income also rely on schools and libraries for their only opportunity to read.
Fortunately, it’s not just the Brooklyn Public Library that has fought these restrictions decisively. Librarians across the U.S. are standing up for what they believe in most: free access to books for everyone. Library staff in Michigan refuse to remove queer-themed books from shelves.
To learn how to get free e-cards from the Brooklyn Public Library, visit the Books Unbanned website, or email them directly at [email protected]. Find out which books are the most banned in America from the American Library Association.
In response to book bans across the United States, the Brooklyn Public Library is offering free e-cards to anyone between the ages of 13 and 21.
eCards will provide access to 500,000 free eBooks, many of them pulled from U.S. school and library shelves
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HT: [Open Culture]
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