Your Freedom to read is fundamental
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. Find out more and sign up for a card.
Your donation for Books Unbanned will support a teen's right to read what they want, learn about themselves and others, and make informed decisions. You'll also add to the Library's collection - with titles that reflect a range of ideas, information, and experiences.
What is Books Unbanned?
In short, LA County Library's Books Unbanned is a public statement and action in support of the freedom to read, explore, and develop understanding and opinions.
In practical terms, this program offers a Books Unbanned Card to any teen (13-18 years) throughout California, giving them free access to the Library's ENTIRE digital collection of e-books and e-audiobooks on Libby, by Overdrive. Your librarians provide recommended booklists.
Thanks to your generous support, the Foundation will add to the Library's collection, with e-books and e-audiobooks that cover a range of topics and genres, including books that are banned.
Why is Books Unbanned needed?
Books Unbanned responds to an increasingly coordinated and effective effort to remove books – about a wide range of topics – from library shelves.
Book bans and challenges disproportionately target a teen audience and books by and about Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people. You can see a list of the 13 most challenged books in 2022 here and a list of the 100 most banned and challenged books over the past decade here.
Without access to a large range of titles, teens lose the freedom to read what they want, and to discover and learn – about themselves and others – as they journey to adulthood.
But this is California...is Books Unbanned needed here?
Yes! California isn't immune from bans and challenges. Too often, books are challenged or removed from shelves, or never make it into a public library collection.
Already, teens from more than 27 counties throughout the state have signed up for a Books Unbanned Card, and many say they their school and local libraries don't have the books they want to read, including banned books.
Limited access to a range of titles, including frequently challenged books, isn't always tied to formal book bans. What about the teen in a rural or underresourced community, perhaps without a library or transportation, or in a community with a library with a small collection?
LA County Library's digital collection provides crucial access – to a range of titles, fiction and non-fiction, the Library's ENTIRE collection of e-books and e-audiobooks. That's more than 150,000 titles.
Will Books Unbanned make a difference?
Again, a big yes! Books Unbanned will make a difference in individuals' lives. And it will ensure that the fundamental right to read, to express oneself, is kept safe and strong.
LA County Library is part of a national movement, started last year by Brooklyn Public Library, to ensure young people have access to any book they want to read.
Your Library brings a lot to the table. Its collection reflects LA County's complex and diverse community, a group equal to nearly one-quarter of California’s total population.
With its peer libraries, LA County Library will make a major impact – providing access to a spectrum of ideas, information, and other resources that build a strong democracy.
What other benefits does Books Unbanned offer?
Books Unbanned provides multiple benefits to teens and the community. The Library offers a range of virtual teen-focused programming, in addition to the collection of e-books and e-audiobooks.
Teens have free and full access to the Library's virtual programs. They can explore a range of topics – from author talks to financial how-tos, to STEAM programs, to writing a resume and finding a job, and more.
LA County teens can also connect in person at their local library. They can join in programs, and with a standard Library Card, also check out physical materials, and more.
How can I help?
Make a donation to support the freedom to read
Sign up for a Books Unbanned Card or let a teen in your life know about this great opportunity
Help spread the word – share these FAQs. Tell your family, a friend, your co-workers.
Thank you to YOU, Library Champion - generous individual donors and foundation, civic, and business supporters.
Interested in making a significant gift or a sponsorship?
Get in contact with Andrea Carroll, Executive Director at 562.940.4189 or by email.
LA County Library Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax Identification Number: 95-3766899.