NYC Libraries Launch “Banned Books Challenge”

Via press release from the New York Public Library:

The New York Public Library is building on its efforts to combat recent trends in nationwide book bans and challenges—with a new challenge of our own.

Together with Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library, we call upon New Yorkers to stand with us against book banning by reading about the very identities and perspectives that such censorship threatens to erase.

Public libraries have a key role to play in fighting growing national trends in book bans. The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced that it tracked an “unprecedented” number of challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2021, and the books being challenged often focus on race, LGBTQ+ issues, religion, and history.

Beginning May 23, NYC’s public libraries challenge you to defend the right to read banned books—by reading banned books. Our expert librarians selected 10 banned or challenged books, which we believe are not only enjoyable, but can help develop greater understanding and empathy: the very tools needed to fight ignorance and hate.

To get New Yorkers started, we’re making one of the challenged books—popular YA title Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo—available with no waits via our free e-reader app SimplyE through June 26. Additional physical copies will also be available across our branches.

Winner of the National Book Award and featured on NYPL’s Best Books for Teens of 2021 list, this book explores issues of race and sexuality—and has been the subject of recent book banning efforts.