EveryLibrary, the 501C4 political action committee dedicated to building voter support for libraries, has announced the launch of their banned bookstore at bookstorebannie.co. The Banned Book Store is the most comprehensive store of currently banned and disputed books in the United States.
Profits from the library go to support the work of EveryLibrary. Every dollar raised provides more than $1,600 in stable funding for the library.
What books are for sale?
The books available in the store are those that have been targeted for banning or censorship attempts and are in print and available through Ingram’s online site. Aero platform. The book selection comes from a wide range of sources, including PEN America’s Exhaustive listby Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson book bans and challenges spreadsheetvarious smaller lists provided by the American Library Association and other lists of historically banned or disputed books.
According to a report by PEN America, the book bans targeted 1,145 unique book titles from 874 different authors, 198 illustrators, and 9 translators, impacting the literary, scholarly, and creative work of a total of 1,081 people.
Among the stocks in the PEN index:
- 467 titles (41%) featured prominent protagonists or supporting characters who were people of color;
- 247 titles (22%) directly address issues of race and racism
- 379 titles (33%) explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes, or have prominent LGBTQ+ protagonists or supporting characters
- 184 titles (16%) are history books or biographies. 107 have explicit or prominent themes related to rights and activism (9%).
- 42 children’s books were censored, including biographies of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, Duke Ellington, Katherine Johnson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.
Who bans the books?
Many recent book challenges have come from individuals who have never read the books and who have been encouraged by extremist national organizations that present excerpts out of context.
“There are a variety of censorship measures in several US states that could prevent the public from reading certain books,” said John Chrastka, executive director of Every Library. “These books are banned by government organizations from libraries across the country simply because a handful of extremists disagree with the content of the books. Some of these measures could also lead to the arrest of librarians for of their commitment to free speech and access to library materials.Some offer monetary incentives to ban books.
Why EveryLibrary created a banned books library
Exposure to a wide range of developmentally appropriate reading materials benefits children’s health, livelihoods and well-being. Books help develop empathy for others and help children imagine lives and experiences that are new to them or different from their own. A 2014 study found that children became more empathetic towards LGBTQ+ people, immigrants and refugees after reading Harry Potter, the story of a child different from his peers.
As we continue to see attacks on freedom to read across the country, EveryLibrary is working with dozens of local activists and organizations to give them the resources they need to fight back. Readers can read more about them here. Funds raised will help EveryLibrary fight the book ban and help libraries get the funding they need to serve their communities.