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A book delivery initiative will help people in Florida receive banned books

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The banning of books in U.S. schools and public institutions continues at record pace.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Students and parents who oppose the trend are sounding alarms about what they describe as a targeted effort to restrict titles related to LGBTQ issues, race and, more broadly, the right to free speech.

PAUL ENGLISH: They're basically just taking the voices away from marginalized people, BIPOC and LGBT. And it just seems insane to take those voices away and try to whitewash history.

JOYCE LINEHAN: We feel very strongly that intellectual freedom is the very cornerstone of our democracy. So, you know, it's time to try to make an impact and try to turn the tide a little bit on this.

MARTÍNEZ: Paul English and Joyce Linehan are co-founders of Banned Books USA. The initiative ships banned books to libraries, schools or just anyone living in the state of Florida who reaches out to its website just for the price of postage.

MARTIN: Last school year, Florida school districts pulled more than 300 books from library shelves, according to a list released by the state's department of education.

MARTÍNEZ: English says the goal of Banned Books USA is to restore access for marginalized students and communities.

ENGLISH: We want these LGBTQ teens to see there are other people like them. And they should be able to read books about it just to make them feel not so alone.

MARTÍNEZ: Linehan says Banned Books USA plans to expand its initiative.

LINEHAN: As long as book bans are being proposed in, basically, any state in the United States, we would like to be able to provide this service to the places where that stuff is happening.

MARTIN: Nationally, the American Library Association reports that 695 titles face censorship challenges so far this year. That's up 20% over the same period last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOMAK'S "FORCE FOR TRUTH") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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