Seattle welcomes Boston, LA County, and San Diego to the Books Unbanned movement!
In honor of Banned Books Week (October 1-7), The Boston Public Library, LA County Library, and San Diego Public Library have announced free digital cards for young people, joining Brooklyn Public Library and The Seattle Public Library in standing up for the freedom to read.
SPL launched Books Unbanned in April, offering teens and young adults nationwide access to the books in its digital collections. The SPL Books Unbanned e-card is privately supported through donations to the The Seattle Public Library Foundation – a model that provides expanded resources for digital materials without using public dollars. The Boston Public Library Fund, LA County Library Foundation, and Library Foundation SD are also supporting their libraries’ Books Unbanned programs.
“Library supporters play a critical role in the fight against censorship, and funding Books Unbanned demonstrates our commitment to the values of our libraries and our democracy,” said Foundation CEO Jonna Ward. “By standing together, libraries and foundations are building powerful momentum to counter the unprecedented threats against equitable access to knowledge.”
“In my nearly 40-year career in libraries, I have never seen so many concentrated and well-coordinated efforts to suppress ideas and limit the intellectual freedom of American citizens, especially for young people,” SPL Chief Librarian Tom Fay remarked in LA County Library’s announcement. “It’s been our hope that other libraries in the U.S. will join this urgently needed effort to defend the freedom to read and expand access to ideas and voices.”
The American Library Association tracked a record number of demands to censor library books in 2022, and a 20 percent increase so far in 2023. But the enthusiastic responses to Books Unbanned from young people across the country show how meaningful it is for libraries to take a stand. Support for Books Unbanned – from coast to coast – makes a real difference in the lives of young readers.