Books Unbanned

Recognizing Two Years of Books Unbanned

In April 2022, Brooklyn Public Library joined those fighting for the rights of teens nationwide to read what they like, discover themselves, and form their own opinions. Inspired by the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement, Books Unbanned is a response to an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books from library shelves. 

The following libraries have joined Books Unbanned as crucial partners in defending and expanding the freedom to read.

The American Library Association (ALA) documented efforts to censor 4,240 unique book titles in schools and libraries in 2023, a 65% increase from 2022 and the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. ALA's data shows that censorship attempts are increasingly moving to public libraries. Most targeted books are for a teen audience and are by or about BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ persons.

Across the country, teens continue to face rising attempts at book bans, censorship, and political challenges in their local school and public libraries.
 

Here are just some of the ways young adults can get support from BPL:
a white book page blacked out except for the words Borrowed and Banned
Borrowed and Banned

BPL's podcast mini-series tells the story of America's ideological war with its bookshelves. Hear from students on the frontlines, librarians and teachers who risk their careers by speaking up, and writers whose books have become a political battleground. 

Listen now

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Get Involved

BPL's Intellectual Freedom Teen Meetups are a virtual space where teens from across the country can connect with peers and discuss book challenges, censorship, and intellectual freedom.

Learn more

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Request a BookMatch

BookMatch Teen offers book recommendations for teens, by teens. Complete the form and a Teen BookMatcher will create a reading list just for you.

Get Matched

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Report a Challenge

If you hear of a challenge at your local library, support your right to free and open access by contacting the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Get Involved

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Use Your Library

Look for frequently challenged books at your local library, or check out our selection of eBook & audiobook titles, many of which are set to "Always Available" for BPL cardholders - no waiting for a copy! 

Get Reading

 

 

Are you an adult who cares about teens' freedom to read? Donate today to help BPL provide teens nationwide with free and open access to our wide-ranging digital collections.

 

Upcoming Events

Creative Writing Workshop Series for Teens with the Writers Guild Initiative

Tue, Jul 23 12:00pm
Central Library

banned books creative writing teen time

Calling all young writers! The Writers Guild Initiative and Brooklyn Public Library are partnering to offer creative writing workshops for teens in grades 9-12.

No writing experience is required. All participants need to have is a desire to write and explore their creativity, and a…

Teen Time: Unbanned Book Club--The Giver

Wed, Jul 31 4:00pm
Brooklyn Heights Library

banned books book club book discussion

We will discuss the book that some say birthed the dystopian movement:  The Giver, by Lois LowryNo need to have read the book!  We will discuss the plot and important points and freedom of information.  SNACKS PROVIDED!We will watch some clips from the movie, too!

 

Intellectual Freedom Teen Meetup with Alex Gino

Tue, Aug 20 5:00pm
Central Library

banned books teen time

Join to discuss intellectual freedom issues, your favorite books, and all-things BPL's Books Unbanned initiative. Connect with peers across the country and learn how you can support youth in protecting the right to read whatever they choose. Please register by 4 pm ET to receive a Zoom link…

Teen Time: Unbanned Book Club--Speak

Wed, Aug 28 4:00pm
Brooklyn Heights Library

banned books book club book discussion

We will discuss Speak by Laurie Halse AndersonNo need to have read the book!  We will discuss the plot and important points and freedom of information.  SNACKS PROVIDED!We will watch some clips from the movie, too!

 

Banned Books Trivia

Fri, Sep 27 3:00pm
Kensington Library

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Come play a game of Banned Books Trivia at Kensington Library!

Learn about the history and trends of book banning and what you can do to stop them!

All are welcome. 

Apply for a Teen eCard

We invite individuals ages 13-21 to apply for a free BPL eCard, providing access to our full eBook/audiobook collection as well as our learning databases. To apply, email booksunbanned@bklynlibrary.org.

BPL’s eCard is always free to teenagers in New York State. Apply here.

 

In Their Own Words: Youth Voices on Books Unbanned

"In Their Own Words: Youth Voices on Books Unbanned", published in April 2024, details the impact of censorship on young people across the United States, using the voices of teens and young readers. Drawing upon thousands of stories shared by Books Unbanned cardholders, the report documents the impacts of censorship and highlights the joy and escape found in the freedom to read.

 

 
Books Unbanned Media Kit

Want to spread the word in your community about Books Unbanned? Download our media kit, which includes a flier, printable sticker sheet, the official Books Unbanned artwork, Brooklyn Public Library's logo and a QR code.

Download the full kit, here.

 

Educate Yourself!

 

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Books Unbanned is generously supported by Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation, The Destina Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation, Stacee Halsenbalg, The Hilail Gildin Trust, Alan and Linda Kahn Foundation, Long Ridge Foundation, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, John Pritzker Family Fund, John Sperling Foundation, Michael and Deborah Ratner Salzberg Family Foundation, Reparations Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, Shawn Carter Enterprises, Diane and Joseph Steinberg, Kerry Washington, Andrea Zaldivar and Michael Festa, and many generous individuals.