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.
Read Now! Last Night at the Telegraph Club
by Malinda Lo
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.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
The best way to fight book banning is to read banned books. To help make sure no perspective is erased, check out these 10 books that have been banned or challenged:
The Marrow Thieves | Cherie Dimaline
Will Grayson, Will Grayson | John Green & David Levithan
Being Jazz | Jazz Jennings
All Boys Aren’t Blue | George M. Johnson
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You | Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds
Last Night at the Telegraph Club | Malinda Lo
AVAILABLE NOW ON SIMPLYE
The Bluest Eye | Toni Morrison
1984 | George Orwell
Out of Darkness | Ashley Hope Pérez
This One Summer | Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Join your library community! New Yorkers can get free access to millions of books, e-books, digital resources, and more, all with a New York Public Library card.Learn More
With millions of books to choose from, our expert librarians have you covered—from our Staff Picks Book Finder to personalized recommendations.Learn More
The New York Public Library depends on donors like you to support our essential services. Friends of the Library will be vital as we expand access to our resources, including job help, community outreach, and language learning materials. Make a membership gift now and enjoy benefits all year long.Learn More
Sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on Library books, events, and more delivered straight to your inbox.Learn More