Florida lending library fights book bans – with a twist

WLRN | By Danielle Prieur | July 12, 2023

The city of Apopka, in Central Florida, will soon have its first ever Little Free Diverse Library where all the books feature LGBTQ and Black and brown characters.

The Dolores Huerta Lending Library will feature titles like Henry Aaron’s Dream, Dim Sum for Everyone, and The Color of My Words, all books that have been banned in local school libraries.

The library is a partnership between Hope Community Center and 904Ward, a nonprofit aimed at anti-racism efforts.

Dr. Kimberly Allen is the director of that nonprofit. She said the goal is to push back against laws like HB-1069, which makes it easier to censor books about LGBTQ and Black and brown people.

“If you have the ability to escape through a book, you not only get the ability to step away from reality for a little bit, but you also have an opportunity to see yourself overcome what you might be experiencing in a moment.”

Allen said the little lending library will offer adult, young adult and children’s books. Anyone is invited to take a book or donate one to the library that will be located at Hope Community Center. Books will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole.

“We’re not exempt from hardship in our life,” said Allen. “But we can choose to find a way to overcome and be successful and still persist in the face of adversity and I think books are a great way to be able to do that.”

Allen’s nonprofit has pledged to open 20 more of these lending libraries throughout Florida this year.

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