The Cause -

The Official StokerCon PreParty, Spirited Giving, is raising funds for the Library Foundation SD's youth reading programs and the Books Unbanned Initiative.

The Books Unbanned initiative is a library program that issues library cards nationwide in order to give electronic access to the library’s digital and audio collections to teens and young adults living in U.S. locations where books are being challenged. The initiative was started by Brooklyn Public Library and joined by other libraries such as Seattle Public Library, LA County Library, and San Diego Public Library.

The initiative aims to support the rights of teens and young adults to read what they like, discover themselves, and form their own opinions, without being restricted by censorship or political pressure. Many of the books that are banned or challenged are by or about Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), or LGBTQ+ people and explore their experiences, stories, histories, and movements. Reading these books can help teens and young adults understand themselves and connect to others, as well as develop critical thinking and intellectual freedom.

We at Spirited Giving support the Books Unbanned initiative because it is a way of defending and expanding the freedom to read, which is essential for a democratic society. As the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement says, “The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.” By supporting the Books Unbanned initiative, we are supporting the freedom to read for everyone, especially for those who are most vulnerable to censorship and discrimination.