BPL's new podcast series Borrowed and Banned tells the story of America's ideological war with its bookshelves. In seven episodes, we'll talk with students on the frontlines, librarians and teachers whose livelihoods are endangered when they speak up, and writers whose books have become political battleground. 

Can I read a transcript of the podcast?

Yes! You can read full transcripts for each episode by clicking on the title of the episode below. You'll also find pictures and links to articles or books mentioned in the episode, too

I have an idea for an episode. Can I tell you about it?

Yes! We're always looking for stories about our Brooklyn community, or how public libraries impact our lives. Reach out to us by emailing [email protected].

How do I listen?

You can listen right on our website by clicking the audio players below. You can also listen on your smart phone. All you have to do is search for “Borrowed” in your podcast app of choice, then click “subscribe” or “follow” to get new episodes downloaded to your device as soon as they come out. Or, click the buttons below to subscribe on these apps.


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Season 6, Episode 10

Jay-Z at the Library

September 1, 2023

Over 14,000 patrons have signed up for their first library card since Jay-Z's exhibit came to Central Library in mid-July. We talk to Brooklynites traveling around the borough to collect all 13 Jay-Z library cards, and ask what The Book of HOV means to them. 

Check out what's on Jay-Z's bookshelf.

Season 6, Episode 9

Pathways to Leadership

July 5, 2023

Kesha Powell and Amen Emile have been working at BPL for over 20 years in various roles, from public safety to circulation manager. Thanks to BPL's Pathways to Leadership program—a scholarship and mentorship initiative designed to diversify the field of librarianship—they will soon be fully-certified librarians. 

Check out these books about librarians and library work.

Season 6, Episode 8

Meet Our (Almost) Six-Year-Old Librarian

June 14, 2023

If you ask Hannah Jean what would be her greatest wish, she will say running Brooklyn Public Library. Last month, she got to do just that. 

Check out some of Hannah Jean's favorite books.

Season 6, Episode 7

The Teens Are Offline

May 30, 2023

Meet the Luddite Club, a group of library-loving, flip-phone-toting teenagers in Brooklyn who come together every week out of a shared sense that social media and smart phones just aren't working for them. 

Check out this list of the Luddite Club's favorite books.

Season 6, Episode 6

Seeking Asylum

May 17, 2023

Asylum seekers continue to arrive in New York City. We look at how one faith-based organization is responding to the continuing crisis in the hope that these personal narratives offer a window into the experience of migrants in Brooklyn today.

Check out our list of books about migrants and asylum seekers.

Season 6, Episode 6

Buscando Asilo

May 17, 2023

Este episodio es sobre los solicitantes de asilo en la ciudad de Nueva York. Estamos compartiendo estas narrativas personales con la esperanza de que escucharlas devuelva la humanidad a esta crisis. 

Este es nuesta lista de libros sobre los migrantes y solicitantes de asilo.

Season 6, Episode 5

A Place of Refuge

April 18, 2023

Last year, New York City began to see an increase in the number of migrants seeking asylum. The library is a small part of the city-wide response to help those seeking refuge. This episode, we'll talk about library and city efforts with Manuel Castro, the Commissioner at the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs.

We've put together a list of books related to the topic of this episode.

Season 6, Episode 4

What's Your Library Worth?

March 28, 2023

Did you know there are some public libraries that loan out snowshoes? And cement mixers? And Santa suits? This episode, we try to calculate what your public library is worth, and ask how you can give back to support public libraries.

Season 6, Episode 3

Go, Robots, Go!

February 28, 2023

With tablets, Legos, and coding, these fourteen teams from library branches across Brooklyn met at Central Library to compete in the final championship of Brooklyn Robotics League — resulting in what is surely one of our loudest stories ever. 

Check out our BKLYN Robotics League book list.

Season 6, Episode 2

Happily Ever After

February 14, 2023

We love love at the library, so for Valentine's Day this year, we're devoting the episode Romance Novels! We'll learn how Romance covers hint at what's between them, and chat with writer Nichole Perkins about how the genre is diversifying.

Check out our list of starter Romance Novels.