Readers Find Creative Ways To Evade Book Bans

Amid attempts to slow the spread of book banning, several community members are finding creative ways to evade the bans.

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Stacks of white library bookshelves on the right side of the image.

In recent weeks, minor progress has been made to ease the strictness of book bans. But state governments continue to crack down on “unsuitable” reading material. As these bans typically target LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-authored books, contemporary readers understand the harm that this censorship can cause by withholding the experiences from these historically underrepresented groups. To combat the issue on the home front, communities have found creative ways to continue reading banned material and give them the spotlight they deserve.

1. Banned Book Clubs

To encourage community discussions, The Author’s Guild hosts a free and virtual book club each month with a work of fiction that was recently banned in the U.S. Additionally, students in districts with strict book bans have taken a similar stance and creating banned book clubs as an after-school activity. Others still, according to Christine Emeran, director of the Youth Free Expression Program, give away banned books, participate in sit-ins at school board meetings, and hand out the book in question.

2. Little Free Libraries

With the motto of “take a book, leave a book,” Little Free Libraries give community members opportunities to swap books with each other. While books can be mixed in genre and content, the boxes give readers easier access to diverse reads. In fact, the organization encouraged participants to fill the boxes with banned books.

Similarly, public libraries, such as the Brooklyn Public Library, unveiled a program that allows teenagers to receive a free online library card so they can access books that may be banned in their district.

3. Secret Bookshelves

blurred out book case with a Top Secret Stamp over the top

Most recently, a teacher in Texas revealed that she created and is continuing to stock a secret bookshelf in her classroom that allows her students to read previously banned books. However, the “silliness” of fearing repercussions has forced her to keep her identity secret.

Click here to read how a Texas teacher is evading book bans!

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