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Neighbors are stocking Little Free Libraries with banned books

By Sarah McGrew

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    GERMANTOWN, Wisconsin (WTMJ) — There are two new Little Free Libraries in Germantown and they’re stocked with commonly banned books. It’s a project of the Germantown Community Coalition which also has a banned book club.

“We were meeting as a book club and talking about all of the different challenges that we’ve heard of locally with books being challenged and we were trying to think of a way that we could take back the power,” said coalition member Tracy Parker. “The idea of putting up Little Free Libraries came up.”

One of those Little Free Libraries is now in Sandy Pié’s yard. Pié is also a member of the coalition.

“I have three or four neighborhood kids that come with their book bags,” Pié said.

In the coalition’s book club, Pié and Parker have now read several of the banned books you can find in Pié’s Little Free Library.

“‘The Hate U Give.’ I absolutely love this book. It just explained so much about the different cultures and that kids can get stuck between the two coming from the city to the suburbs,” Pié said of one of the books in her library.

She said she also enjoyed ‘The 57 Bus’ and is looking forward to reading ’12 Years a Slave’ next.

“By banning these books you’re taking away not only affirmation for those that belong to the various communities, but you’re taking away understanding from those who don’t and being able to emphasize and understand what those individuals are going through,” Pié shared.

The American Library Association (ALA) says 2023 has seen a record surge of challenges at public libraries. In Wisconsin, there have been 14 attempts to restrict access to books in Wisconsin this year and 49 different titles have been challenged according to the ALA.

Parker has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She wants her kids to be able to access a diverse selection of books.

“I really have concerns if my children are not able to access diverse kinds of books. I mean my kids grew up in a majority white, suburban type of environment and I want them to know what the world is like when they leave Germantown,” Parker shared.

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