The Digital Public Library of America’s Banned Book Club
Don’t let censorship stop you from reading what you want.
We’ve written about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) before, but their work is no less important now. Although they’ve been serving Americans for some time, they’ve recently taken on another role as one of the leaders in the fight against book banning and censorship. So, what exactly is the DPLA, what are they doing to fight censorship, and what makes their work so important?
What Is the DPLA?
The Digital Public Library of America, or DPLA, is precisely what its name would suggest: a digital storage of countless books accessible to anyone and everyone at absolutely no cost. It was first launched back in 2013 and has been going strong for over a decade. With a particular focus on banned books, the DPLA founded The Banned Book Club in 2023 as a means to further their work.
Sign the petition to fight book bans!
Why The Banned Book Club Was Created
The DPLA founded The Banned Book Club in the face of recent book bans, led mainly by special interest groups, like Moms for Liberty, that sought to censor literature on important social subjects and even science itself. It goes without saying that this sets a dangerous precedent for the future of information freedom, and something must be done to combat it.
The Banned Book Club is the perfect response, allowing people to access banned books for free and informing them of the specific books that were banned in their area. This gives people a chance to read banned books, observe patterns in which topics are being banned, and hold the organizations banning them accountable to prevent frivolous censorship in the future.
Why This Matters
Of course, for all the work that goes into maintaining The Banned Book Club, you have to wonder: What’s the significance of it all? How does the fight to provide banned books to so many people impact society as a whole? Simply put, offering access to banned books is one of the greatest ways to keep freedom of speech alive.
Throughout history, those with authority have banned books to suppress information on people, topics, and even real-world events that they wanted to stay hidden, and keeping the people informed is the most effective way to fight against that. By providing easy access to books that have been banned in public libraries, the DPLA plays an invaluable role in the fight against censorship and ensures that free and open access to information will persist for decades to come.
Send an email to your Representatives to show your support for libraries!
How You Can Help
So, how can you help the DPLA continue its mission of preserving information freedom and fighting censorship? Simple as it may seem, the most impactful way you can contribute is by continuing to read banned books and, most importantly, continuing to talk about them.
Simply banning books isn’t enough to eliminate sensitive topics; those banning books on certain subjects also have to get people to stop talking about them. By continuing to have these conversations, you keep censored information in circulation and ensure that it’ll never truly be buried, no matter how much effort is put into banning it. Keep reading banned books, and encourage others to do the same!
In addition, you can help the cause with your vote. The fight against censorship isn’t loud, it isn’t flashy, and it certainly isn’t violent, so it can be easy to overlook in our day-to-day lives. However, battles over censorship are settled in the voting booth. The people we choose to hold power, especially in local elections, have an incredible amount of sway regarding censorship, so it’s important to vote for people who will fight just as hard as you against book bans.
Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries.
#librarymarketers: Enjoy this story? Want to use it for your library newsletter, blog, or social media? This article is published under Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International and is free to edit and use with attribution. Please cite EveryLibrary on medium.com/everylibrary.
This work by EveryLibrary is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0