The Brooklyn Public Library is giving teens across the country access to banned books as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist.
As more states ban certain books in public schools, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) launched a program called Books Unbanned, giving 13- to 21-year-olds access to a free e-card for a “limited time.”
‘[The BPL e-card is] Provide access to our full eBook collection as well as our learning databases,” the library’s website reads. It provides access to 25,000 books for residents and non-residents, according to Politico.
Ultimately, the BPL says spreading information is part of its mission, and it felt compelled to help as more states moved toward bans and have helped more than 5,000 people.
“We say that’s what libraries do, we provide access to these materials,” BPL CEO Linda Johnson told Politico.
“Literature is such a powerful thing and it allows you to get to know yourself better, your world, it allows you to see new things and we don’t think anyone should be excluded from it, regardless of where they live. ”
Other New York City libraries, such as the New York Public Library and Queens Public Library, have also offered similar programs by giving New Yorkers free access to banned books during certain months.
The Brooklyn Public Library is giving teens across the country access to banned books as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist
A digital library card gives people ages 13 to 21 free access to banned books at the Brooklyn Library
However, the BPL program is reaching students across the country and has even encouraged a group of Oklahoma mothers to create yard signs with a QR code for the library’s program.
“We’re basically a bunch of crazy moms,” Katie Cruz-Long of Norman, Oklahoma, told KFOR earlier this month. “I want the best education my son can get. I don’t know why that can’t be in a public school because that’s what they’re designed for.’
Long had reached out to the BPL to ask permission to use the QR code on their lawn signs, which told her, “Do it.”
“We have this. I ordered 250 and we’re basically just doing it at cost because we’re not trying to make a profit,” Long told KFOR.
Long’s idea for the lawn signs came after former Norman High School English teacher Summer Boismier resigned after sharing the QR code with her students, prompting a parent to complain.
Oklahoma mom Katie Cruz-Long organized yard signs using the Brooklyn Public Library’s QR codes to help children in Norman easily access the books. “I want the best education my son can get. I don’t know why that can’t be in a public school because that’s what they’re designed for,” she said
Order long 250 shields and sell them at cost so the Normans can put them in their garden
She originally said she thought she was on administrative leave, but the district insisted she resign.
However, the school denied that she was fired for providing access to the QR code but making “disparaging and divisive remarks” about state politicians, according to Politico. They accused her of using her classroom to do “a political display expressing her own opinions”.
Now her teaching license is in jeopardy.
“The QR code has become – for lack of a better wording – a symbol of local resistance in my state,” she said in an interview, according to Politico.
However, those who support the book ban claim it protects children from sexually explicit content, racism, gender identity or political discourse, particularly issues supported by the left.
“We want to make sure children are not taught to be racist or to be ashamed because of their race or gender,” State Senator David Bullard told KFOR. “Are you saying that the mothers want the pornographic material? Think it’s ok to do this via a QR code?
State Senator David Bullard called many of the state’s banned books “pornographic” and said books about porn, racism and sex were “problematic.”
“A book in a public library or a parent buying a book for their child is their business, but it is highly problematic for a school to publish, or even link to, pornographic material.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters even wants Boismier’s license revoked and is reportedly irritated by the BPL program, according to Politico.
“Rather than being more concerned about the children and their development, and is that appropriate for children at this grade level, they have chosen to take an ideological direction here – not an academic exercise – but an ideological one by bringing this into our schools . he said, according to Politico.
In addition, No Left Turn in Education — a group that supports some book bans — also said it opposes “leftist orthodoxy” and material with sexually explicit imagery.
“School is not a playground for politicians,” Elana Fishbein told Politico. “School is designed to educate children to give them the tools they need to eventually succeed in life. It should be neutral territory.”
Nearly 3,000 schools in 26 states have imposed some sort of ban, according to PEN America.
Critics of the ban argue that these restrictions disrupt discussions and understanding of institutionalized racism and deprive LGBT+ communities by restricting access to materials that help them understand themselves.
Norman mother Heather Hall – who owns a bookstore and whose middle school students go by the pronoun “they” – found it “extraordinary” that the BPL offered students access to these books.
“I have my kid who’s going through a lot in middle school and has access to these very kind people across the country,” Hall said.
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office of Freedom of Thought, said Oklahoma has become a hub of legislative activity designed to “tightly control” children’s education.
Stone also said many states widely censor LGGT+, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color writers.
Texas has the largest book ban, with more text being censored this year than any other state.
Republican Rep. Matt Kraus compiled a list of 850 books containing topics related to race and sexuality and gave them to schools and asked if they had them. One school, according to Politico, began removing the books.
Texas parents can also temporarily remove their children from classrooms when discussing material that violates religious beliefs.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has promised to give parents more say in their children’s education.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers is warning citizens that book bans are very likely if he loses re-election.
Meanwhile, people are praising the BPL for making it easier for everyone to access prohibited materials.
“What Brooklyn is doing is fabulous,” Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, told Politico.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Pioneer Library System – Norman’s local system – for comment.
The top 10 most challenged books of 2021
More and more books are being placed on the banned books list, from classic to modern novels.
Some of the most famous books, like 1984, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Here is the list of the most challenged books of 2021 and the claimed reasons for them, according to the American Library Association:
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe – LGBT+ themes, sexually explicit
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evision – LGGT+ issues, sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson – LGGT+ issues, profanity, sexually explicit
- Out of the Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez – Abuse, sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Profanity, violence, social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Native American by Sherman Alexie – Profanity, sexual innuendos, derogatory phrases
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – sexually explicit, demeaning towards women
- Toni Morrison’s bluest eye -Sexual abuse of children, sexually explicit
- This book is gay by Juno Dawson – sex education. LGBT+ themes
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin – LGGT+ issues, sexually explicit
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11245785/Brooklyn-Public-Library-offers-teens-access-banned-books-free-states-restrict.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The Brooklyn Public Library is giving teens free access to banned books as more states restrict it