Books Unbanned

Brooklyn Public Library joins 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, BPL's Books Unbanned initiative is a response to an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books tackling a wide range of topics from library shelves.

BPL is proud to celebrate 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

teens laughing while writing on paper
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

Img Alt goes here
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

Redacted words on paper with words Books Unbanned still visible
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

image of BPL library card, blue with white BPL logo centered
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

Intellectual Freedom Teen Meetup

Tue, Apr 16 5:00pm
Virtual

banned books teen time

** Formerly the Intellectual Freedom Teen Council (IFTC) **

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…

Teen Time: Unbanned Book Club--The Poet X

Wed, Apr 24 4:00pm
Brooklyn Heights Library

banned books book club book discussion

We will discuss Poet X by Elizabeth AcevedoNo need to have read the book!  We will discuss the plot and important points and freedom of information.  SNACKS PROVIDED!We will meet in person and online.

 

Intellectual Freedom Teen Meetup

Tue, May 21 5:00pm
Virtual

banned books teen time

** Formerly the Intellectual Freedom Teen Council (IFTC) **

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…

Teen Time: Unbanned Book Club--Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Wed, May 29 4:00pm
Brooklyn Heights Library

banned books book club book discussion

We will discuss The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsNo need to have read the book!  We will discuss the plot and important points and freedom of information.  SNACKS PROVIDED!We will meet in person and online.

 

Intellectual Freedom Teen Meetup

Tue, Jun 18 5:00pm
Virtual

banned books teen time

** Formerly the Intellectual Freedom Teen Council (IFTC) **

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…

National Teen BPL eCard

We invite individuals ages 13-21 to apply for a free BPL eCard, providing access to our full eBook 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.

 

New Report: In Their Own Words: Youth Voices on Books Unbanned

"In Their Own Words: Youth Voices on Books Unbanned" 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 from those requesting a Books Unbanned card at Brooklyn and Seattle Public Libraries, the report documents, in heartbreaking and hopeful detail, both the serious impacts of censorship attempts and how programs like Books Unbanned are providing joy, representation and escape for a new generation of readers.

 

 
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!
  • Youth Censorship Database: NCAC tracks book challenges in schools and libraries, as well as censorship of art, journalism, and other types of student expression in schools.
  • Top 10 Most Challenged Books: ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles an annual list of the most challenged books.
  • Library Bill of Rights: ALA affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that these basic policies should guide their services.
  • BPL's Material Selection Policy: Learn more about how libraries like BPL make decisions about what gets on the shelves.

 

instagramGet social with BKLYN Future

Follow Us