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A digital library card initiative provides younger readers a way to get around Florida's book bans


This week is Banned Books Week,and PEN America,a group that advocates for free expression in literature, reported that Florida is among the states with the most book bans. One New York library may offer a workaround.

The Brooklyn Public Library launched an initiative in April of this year called Books Unbanned, where teens across the country can get an electronic library card for free.

“The initiative was launched in response to an increasing number of book bans and organized and politicized censorship," says Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson Fritzi Bodenheimer. "What we’ve done is to open up our digital collection to people ages 13-21 all across the country who might be impacted by a ban or just want more access to books, and the results have really been incredible. Since we launched in April, we’ve had over 5,000 teens write in from every state in the country and the District of Columbia."

Card holders have access to the library’s entire vast collection, which is about a half-million items, including e-books, audiobooks, and databases.

The only requirements are that you’re between ages 13-21 and that you live in the United States. To request a card, DM the library on Instagram @bklynfuture or email booksunbanned@bklynlibrary.org.

"I will say that librarians read each and every single note individually and respond to them. So there’s no computer involved," said Bodenheimer.

The program is ongoing with no deadline, Bodenheimer says, because the need is so great.

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Cary Barbor