Maine Library Fights Book Banning Trend by Searching for Controversial Titles

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A library off the coast of Maine is looking to fill its shelves with controversial titles in an effort to combat recent book banning trends that have taken place across the country.

The Matinicus Island Library has adopted a range of historically banned books, including classics such as Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

The library has also purchased copies of a more recent picture book from 2005 And the tango makes three, which tells the story of two male penguins raising a chick together. The book is based on real events that took place at New York’s Central Park Zoo, but according to the American Library Association, it has become one of the most banned books in the country due to its homosexual theme.

“We buy banned books in order to publicly push back against the incitement to ban books. Saying, ‘If you don’t want it in your library, we want it in ours,'” library patron Eva Murray said. to the Bangor Daily News. Murray recently returned to Matinicus Island from the mainland to purchase several historically banned titles from the library.

The library has since become the literary equivalent of “the island of unsuitable toys”, the place where unwanted and discarded toys live. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The small community-run space began in 2016 and expanded in 2020 with a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, according to The Associated Press.

King himself has long been a critic of book censorship, telling the Chicago Grandstand in a 2017 interview that “no book should ever be banned”, urging children to go to “your local bookstore and get a copy of what has been banned”.

A library in Maine buys controversial books to fight censorship at the United States house in London on December 7, 2017.
Daniel LEAL / AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the Republican-led legislature in Arizona proposed advancing a bill that would require schools to obtain parental consent before teaching any books containing sexually explicit material, which, according to the reviews, could lead to the censorship of classics such as Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales.

Elsewhere, a group of Republican lawmakers in Texas this month urged school districts to stop buying LGBTQ-themed books. Hundreds of titles in the state have recently been removed from school libraries as parents and conservative lawmakers seek to censor materials on race, sexuality and gender, according to a February investigation by NBC.

On the island of Matinicus, however, residents remain adamant about allowing a free flow of books and ideas in the library.

“We’re in a unique position to say, ‘We’re not banning books,’ and that we welcome people’s book suggestions,” Murray told the Daily News. “That’s the thing about starting a library [out here]. You can do good without having to ask for a lot of permissions first.”


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