Banned books? Not here. American Stage, Keep St. Pete Lit, and Tombolo Books created a banned books library, and on Feb. 18, the St. Petersburg theater company on 3rd Street North opened the library, stocked with books banned from Florida public schools.
House Bill 1467
This collaboration sparked from recent removals of classroom books thanks to House Bill 1467. This legislation requires materials in public school districts in Florida to undergo an approval process before students use them.
One book that didn’t meet with approval caught the eye of American Stage’s Director of Marketing Avery Anderson: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
After remembering he read this exact book in high school, Anderson didn’t want to ignore this. Anderson reached out to Keep St. Pete Lit. This led to St. Pete Lit organizing the book drive for the library.
“I still can’t believe that people actually think banning books is OK. It’s mind-blowing to me, especially because the books that are banned represent diversity and inclusion,” said Maureen McDole, founder and executive director of Keep St. Pete Lit. “It infuriates me and I am so grateful to be able to create a space for people to read the books if they want, whenever they want.”
Find St. Pete’s Banned Books Library
Visitors can find the library in the American Stage lobby. The library is free for students.
“I would love to see people in and out every day, taking books, and sharing the ideas behind them,” Anderson said.
St. Pete’s Tombolo Books has a section of banned books online and in store. This includes The Bluest Eye for any interested buyers.
Anyone can donate to the library. If you purchase a blacklisted book from Tombolo Books for the library, Keep St. Pete Lit will transfer them for you.