The Central Library branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system is visible in New York City on July 7, 2022. | Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo By Madina Touré 09/24/2022 05:00 AM EDT Link CopiedNEW YORK — The front line of America’s culture war now runs straight through the nation’s school libraries — with conservatives in dozens of states outlawing books and instruction and the left working to shield targeted authors.Far from the trenches in states like Florida and Texas, organizations indeep-blue New York are stepping into the fray by directly lending 25,000 books to non-residents since spring, including thousands of students living under the bans.
The Brooklyn Public Library’s “Books Unbanned” program provides access to its eBook collection and learning databases for people between the ages of 13 and 21.The library’s program is reaching into Oklahoma, which enacted some of the most sweeping laws last year to ban materialsthat might causeanyone to “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race or gender identity.One Oklahoma high school teacher resigned after suffering backlash for introducingstudents to the program.
Now colleagues, students and community members are making yard signs, and kids are wearing shirts to school advertising the program with a barcode that connects to the BPL website on phones.“The QR code has become — for lack of a better phrasing — it’s become a symbol of resistance locally in my state,” former Norman High School English teacher Summer Boismier said in an interview.
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