Story September 26, 2023

Reading is freedom

Support the right to read.

The books in our libraries are an extension of who we are. They open our eyes to different perspectives. They allow us to expand our horizons and our understanding of a complex, always-shifting world. They connect us to a shared history.

Books Unbanned

Despite the endless benefits that learning with freedom offers, there’s an increasingly influential and coordinated effort to challenge and ban books in public and school libraries across the U.S. This effort disproportionately targets books that offer diverse perspectives, such as those from people of color and the LGBTQIA+ community. According to the American Library Association, these efforts breed ignorance, misunderstanding, and hate and are associated with violence and threats against libraries and librarians. 

And San Diego is not immune to these potential threats.

These book bans are a slippery slope to censorship and the stifling of diverse views in our cultural, community, and educational spaces. Intellectual freedom and representation of diverse perspectives are strengths that we should be celebrating, not stamping out.

In response to increasingly aggressive threats to intellectual freedom, the Library Foundation SD joined the San Diego Public Library and partners to launch Books Unbanned in San Diego. 

This campaign – made possible through the generosity of our supporters – resists book bans, promotes intellectual freedom among young readers, and helps cement libraries as a place where everyone belongs. The Brooklyn Public Library started Books Unbanned in 2021 and was soon joined by a similar campaign by the Seattle Public Library. Now, the San Diego Public Library is being joined by partners such as the Los Angeles County Public Library and Boston Public Library in this effort.

Libraries are a place where everyone belongs.

What is the Books Unbanned digital card?

Anyone ages 12 – 26 living in the United States can get a San Diego Public Library Books Unbanned card. With the card, the library’s online collection of banned or restricted eBooks and eAudiobooks are available for FREE, no matter where you live in the U.S. Books Unbanned cardholders can check out up to three books at a time and put up to three books on hold from a collection of the most frequently banned or challenged books according to the American Library Association.

Note: Young adults who live in California, own property in the City of San Diego, or serve in the Armed Forces and are stationed in San Diego County do not need a Books Unbanned card. They can apply for a San Diego Public Library card to access this collection and other resources. 

Does Books Unbanned impact local use of these materials?

No. This program helps grow the collection for local use. The San Diego Public Library’s Books Unbanned effort is 100 percent funded by the generosity of Library Foundation SD donors. Also, for every copy purchased for the Books Unbanned collection, we will purchase at least one copy for the San Diego collection.

How can I help?

Books Unbanned card

If you’re aged 12 to 26 and live outside California, you’re eligible for the Books Unbanned card. Follow the link below to get yours.

Library and Library Foundation SD @ 2023 Pride Parade

San Diego responds to threat on Pride materials

In late June, two library patrons tried to limit community access to materials by checking out nearly all the titles in a Pride display at the Rancho Peñasquitos Library. In partnership with Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, the Library Foundation SD was proud to work with the library and donors to quickly replenish the Rancho Peñasquitos collection and grow the library’s collection. Thus far, more than 179 donors have contributed to help build that collection.