Brooklyn National Library gives teens free access to e-books in protest against book ban

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Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Public Library said it has made its entire collection of e-books and audiobooks freely available to teens across the United States. The library said this was done to protest the recent trend of banning books in the country. This is part of an initiative called Books UnBanned which allows people between the ages of 13 and 21 to be eligible for an e-card that can be used to borrow content from the library.

The offer will apply to all teenagers in the United States, regardless of which state they belong to, and will be valid for one year. Otherwise, the membership card costs $50 for those living out of state. Plus, as Fox5 mentioned, teens will also be able to connect with their peers in Brooklyn, which also includes the library’s Teen Intellectual Freedom Council. According to the library, this will make teenagers more aware of the importance of freedom to read as well as the need to fight censorship.

As it stands, there has been a surge in cases of book bans, unseen in decades. While this is a state-level initiative in many cases, there have also been instances where local communities have resorted to banning books they deem appropriate. Take, for example, a Tennessee school board disapproving of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman’s.

Similarly, Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel Gender Queer: A Memoir was also censored by local communities in Orange County, Florida. the Project 1619 by Nikole Hannah-Jones also has its own share of controversy given that it deals with how slavery once flourished in the United States. No wonder there is a proposed bill to ban it.

The Brooklyn Public Library, however, said it would allow unlimited access to the Project 1619 and will have no waiting or waiting times for cardholders. The same goes for other titles that have caused a lot of controversy and often faced calls for banning. These include The black flamingo by Dean Atta, Tomboy by Liz Prince, The bluest eye by Toni Morrison Juliet breathes by Gabby Rivera On Earth, we are briefly beautiful by Ocean Vuong, and lawn boy by Jonathan Evison.

Many groups have also come forward to fight book censorship. Take for example ‘No Left Turn in Education’ which expressed concern against books illustrating pornography and paedophilia. ‘No Left Turn in Education’ happens to be a nationwide group that has always criticized the inclusion of any material in school textbooks that may politicize or indoctrinate young minds. The group also asked Attorney General Merrick Garland how the book Gender Queer continues to be available.

“Brooklyn Public Library strongly opposes censorship and the principles of intellectual freedom – the right of every individual to seek and receive information from all perspectives without restriction,” said Nick Higgins, Chief Librarian. of the Brooklyn Public Library, in a statement. “Limiting access or providing one-sided information is a threat to democracy itself.”

The library said the newly issued e-card will allow members to access 350,000 e-books, 200,000 audio books and more than 100 databases. Books can be accessed through the library’s online app or the Libby app. To request the card, teens can send their request to [email protected] or via the library’s Instagram account @bklynfuture which is also run by teens.

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