The Brooklyn Public Library is offering access to banned books to teens across the country as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist

The Brooklyn Public Library is offering access to banned books to teens across the country as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist.

As more states moved to ban certain books in public schools, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) started a program called Books Unbanned, which offers those aged 13 to 21 access to a free e-card for a ‘limited time.’ 

‘[The BPL e-card is] providing access to our full eBook collection as well as our learning databases,’ the library’s website said. It provides access to 25,000 books to both residents and non-residents, according to Politico. 

At the end of the day, the BPL says that disseminating information is part of its mission and it felt compelled to help as more states moved toward bans and has helped more than 5,000 people. 

‘We’re saying this is what libraries do, we provide access to these materials,’ BPL CEO Linda Johnson told Politico. 

‘Literature is such a powerful thing and it’s something which 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 shut out of that regardless of where they live.’  

Other New York City libraries, such as the New York Public Library and the Queens Public Library – have also offered similar programs by giving free access to banned books to New Yorkers during certain months. 

The Brooklyn Public Library is offering access to banned books to teens across the country as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist

The Brooklyn Public Library is offering access to banned books to teens across the country as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist

Brooklyn library CEO Linda Johnson said:  'Literature is such a powerful thing and it¿s something which allows you to get to know yourself better, your world'

Brooklyn library CEO Linda Johnson said:  ‘Literature is such a powerful thing and it’s something which allows you to get to know yourself better, your world’ 

Through a digital library card, people aged 13 to 21 can freely access banned books through the Brooklyn library

Through a digital library card, people aged 13 to 21 can freely access banned books through the Brooklyn library 

However, the BPL program is reaching students across the nation and has even encouraged a group of Oklahoma moms to create yard signs with a QR code the library’s program. 

‘We’re basically a bunch of mad 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 contacted the BPL to ask permission to use the QR code on her lawn signs, who told her: ‘Go for it.’ 

‘So we did. I placed order for 250, and we’re just basically 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 she shared the QR code with her students, causing one parent to complain. 

Norman High School English teacher Summer Boismier (pictured) resigned from her job after a parent complained she distributed the QR code to the Brooklyn library. Long was inspired to make the signs after the teacher was fired

Norman High School English teacher Summer Boismier (pictured) resigned from her job after a parent complained she distributed the QR code to the Brooklyn library. Long was inspired to make the signs after the teacher was fired

She originally said she thought she was on administrative leave, but the district insisted she resigned. 

However, the school denied she was let go for providing access to the QR code, but for making ‘derogatory and divisive remarks’ about state politicians, according to Politico. They accused her of using her classroom ‘to make a political display expressing her own opinions.’ 

Now her teaching license is in jeopardy. 

‘The QR code has become — for lack of a better phrasing — it’s become a symbol of resistance locally in my state,’ she said in an interview, according to Politico. 

However, those who support the ban on books are claiming it is protecting children from sexually explicit content, racism, gender identity, or political discourse, particularly topics supported by the left. 

‘We want to make sure that kids are not being taught to be racist or shamed because of their race or their sex,’ State Senator David Bullard told KFOR. ‘You’re saying that the moms want the pornographic material? They think it’s okay to do it through a QR code? 

Oklahoma mom Katie Cruz-Long has organized yard signs that feature the Brooklyn Public Library's QR codes to help kids in Norman have access to 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

Oklahoma mom Katie Cruz-Long has organized yard signs that feature the Brooklyn Public Library’s QR codes to help kids in Norman have access to 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 

Long order 250 signs and sells them at cost for Norman residents to put in their yard

Long order 250 signs and sells them at cost for Norman residents to put in their yard 

‘A book in a public library or a parent buying a book for their child is their business, but for a school to put pornographic material, or even link to a pornographic material is highly problematic.’ 

Oklahoma Education Secretary 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 kids and their development and is this appropriate for kids at that grade level, they’ve decided to take an ideological bent here — not an academic exercise — but an ideological one in pushing 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 the ‘orthodoxy of the left’ and material that had sexually explicit imagery. 

‘The school is not a playground for politicians,’ found Elana Fishbein told Politico. ‘The school is to educate kids to give them the tools that they need to eventually succeed in life. It should be neutral territory.’ 

Nearly 3,000 schools across 26 states have implemented some sort of ban, according to PEN America. 

Detractors of the ban are arguing that these restrictions is pausing discussions and understanding of institutionalized racism and deprives the LGBT+ communities by limiting access to materials that helps them understand themselves. 

Norman parent Heather Hall – who owns a bookstore and whose middle schooler goes by they/them pronouns – thought it was ‘extraordinary’ that the BPL was offering students access to these books. 

State Senator David Bullard called many of the books banned in the state 'pornographic' and said books related to porn, racism, and sex are 'problematic'

State Senator David Bullard called many of the books banned in the state ‘pornographic’ and said books related to porn, racism, and sex are ‘problematic’ 

‘I have my kid who is going through some stuff in middle school and has access to these very kind people all the way across the country,’ Hall said. 

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said that Oklahoma has become a nexus of legislative activity that is used to ‘tightly control’ children’s education. 

Stone also said that many states are largely censoring LBGT+, black, indigenous and people of color authors. 

Texas has the biggest book ban, with more text censored this year than any other state. 

Republican Representative Matt Kraus compiled a list of 850 books that contained topics surrounding race and sexuality and distributed it to schools, asking if they had them. Some school began removing the books, according to Politico. 

Texas parents can also remove their kids temporarily from classrooms when material that goes against religious beliefs is being discussed. 

Texas has the worst book ban in the country and has added the most titles this year than any other state

Texas has the worst book ban in the country and has added the most titles this year than any other state 

Those who support book bans say its because titles contain racist, sexists, or sexually explicit context.

Those who support book bans say its because titles contain racist, sexists, or sexually explicit context. 

The Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has pledged to give parents more power over their children’s education. 

In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers is warning citizens that if he loses reelection, book bans are very likely to happen. 

In the meantime, people are praising the BPL for its quest to help everyone access banned materials. 

‘What Brooklyn is doing is fabulous,’ New York Public Library’s President Tony Marx told Politico. 

DailyMail.com has contacted the Pioneer Library System – Norman’s local system – for comment. 

The top 10 most challenged books of 2021 

More and more books are being added to banned books lists, from classic to modern novels. 

Some of the most well-known books, such as 1984, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

Here’s the list of the most challenged books of 2021 and the claimed reasons why, according to the American Library Association: 

  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe – LGBT+ themes, sexually explicit
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison – LBGT+ themes, sexually explicit
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson – LBGT+ themes, profanity, sexually explicit 
  • Out of 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 Indian by Sherman Alexie – profanity, sexual references, derogatory phrases 
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – sexually explicit, degrading to women 
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison -child sexual abuse, sexually explicit 
  • This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson – sexual education. LGBT+ themes
  • Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin – LBGT+ themes, sexually explicit

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