Books Unbanned Card for California Teens
Your freedom to read is a fundamental right. To help support teenagers ages 13-18 years old in California, LA County Library’s Books Unbanned initiative offers free and unrestricted access to the Library’s entire digital eBook and audiobook collection on Libby, by OverDrive, which includes many frequently-banned titles. The Books Unbanned card allows 5 check outs at a time and is valid for one year.
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Interested in donating to help us expand our collection of eBooks and audiobooks? Books Unbanned is funded by private gifts to LA County Library Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the Library’s programs and services.
Preserve Your Intellectual Freedom
Your freedom to read is a fundamental right. Reading is among our greatest freedoms and provides endless opportunities for people to learn about different life experiences, cultures, and the world. As a champion for intellectual freedom, LA County Library has partnered with Brooklyn Public Library and Seattle Public Library to join the Books Unbanned initiative, a response to the growing number of book bans and challenges cropping up across the nation. Boston Public Library and San Diego Public Library are also joining Books Unbanned.
What is LA County Library’s Books Unbanned Initiative?
LA County Library’s Books Unbanned initiative offers teenagers ages 13 – 18 across California free and unrestricted access to the Library’s entire digital eBook and audiobook collection on Libby, by OverDrive, which includes many frequently-banned titles, making it possible for teenagers to read what they want so they can develop their own informed opinions on various issues and topics.
We developed the Books Unbanned digital card in response to a June 2023 motion from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, authored by Supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath and Janice Hahn, which directed the Library to expand the availability of library cards to teens statewide in an effort to support young people without access to certain banned books, and to determine how to fund the purchase of additional eBook and audiobook copies of frequently banned titles.
Are book bans still occurring?
In 2022, The American Library Association (ALA) documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. Most of these censorship attempts targeted books for a teen audience and were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.
Why is it important to preserve intellectual freedom?
Reading and accessing a wide variety of content can help open doors and create opportunities for people to advance their education and careers. It also helps people obtain unfiltered information that they can use to thoughtfully contribute to civil discourse on a range of complex topics, such as the right to vote, the environment, and the history and origins of inequities in society. You can learn more about your freedom to read by reading ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement.
Explore Our Digital Collection
Our OverDrive collection includes thousands of eBooks and audiobooks for you to check out and read or listen to. Read on your computer or use the Libby app to get books on your phone, tablet, or Kindle.
Many banned or challenged books are by or about Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), or LGBTQ+ people and explore their experiences, stories, histories and movements. Reading these books can help you understand yourself and connect to others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week (October 1-7, 2023) celebrates the freedom to read, which spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.
For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community—librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular!
American Library Association
ALA’s mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
The National Coalition Against Censorship tracks book challenges in schools and libraries, as well as censorship of art, journalism, and other types of student expression in schools.
PEN America champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Their mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.