Words by Tess Becker
Many books are under attack in the United States for content such as LGBTQ+ rights, the country's racial history and other topics that state authorities deems inappropriate for children. The Brooklyn Public Library took issue with this and started the Books Unbanned program.
Books Unbanned focuses on access to reading for teens, tracking challenges or attempts to censor reading materials across the United States. The program was inspired by the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement.
“The American Library Association documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago,” the Brooklyn Public Library writes. “The tally is nearly double that of the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Most targeted books were for a teen audience and were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.”
The program allows teens to request book recommendations, as well as to learn about the inner workings of a library.
At its core, the program is about helping teens develop and foster a love for reading while protecting their access to books.
“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,” they write.
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
American Civil Liberties Union. This is one of the largest civil liberty defense organizations in the US. Find out more and support them here.
Human Rights Campaign. This is one of the largest equality-focused organizations in the US. Find out more.
The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here.