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May 10, 2022 – In addition to this week’s NewsBreaks article and monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers weekly news digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of information today. For other breaking news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.
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EveryLibrary opens a forbidden library
EveryLibrary’s executive director, John Chrastka, announced via email that EveryLibrary has launched an online marketplace, the Forbidden bookstore— which he calls “the most comprehensive store of currently banned and disputed books in the United States.” The funds it raises will help in EveryLibrary’s fight against the book ban and in its defense of libraries.
Store books ship via Ingram’s Aero platform, and the list of titles comes from various sources, such as PEN America’s report on banning books, the banned book by Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson spreadsheetALA lists and lists of historically banned or disputed books.
Many of the challenges with the books come from individuals who have never read the books and who have been encouraged by domestic extremist organizations to present excerpts out of context to vilify and demonize librarians while building a case for horrible legislation which allows the government to ban books that do not agree with their current political ideologies.
According [the] PEN America report, 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.
These titles tend to have major protagonists or supporting characters who are people of color (41% of titles), deal directly with race and racism (22%), and cover LGBTQ+ themes and/or have characters LGBTQ+ (33%). Children’s versions of biographies of prominent activists have been censored, including those of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.
Chrastka asserts that “exposure to a wide range of developmentally appropriate reading materials has significant benefits for the health, livelihoods and well-being of children in our country. Books help develop empathy for others. They help children imagine lives and experiences that are new to them or different from their own. In fact, 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.
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