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Peabody teens join library's banned book club

Peabody teens join library's banned book club
Peabody teens join library's banned book club 01:43

PEABODY – The Peabody Institute Library has a collection of nearly 135,000 books.

"We have books about every topic under the sun for everybody," Peabody Institute Library Director Cate Merlin said. "We subscribe to the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Bill of Rights which means everyone has the right to read whatever they're interested in."

That includes books that have been removed from the shelves of other libraries and schools across the country for various reasons.

"There are a lot of classics on the list like 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and '1984' and 'Of Mice And Men'. There are newer books like 'The Hate U Give,'" Merlin said.

Those titles and others are on the recommended reading list for the library's new program: The Banned Book Club for Teens.

"We'll talk about the books and why we think they make people uncomfortable, how the teens feel about them," senior teen librarian Allison Bridgewater said. "Reading books that might make some people feel uncomfortable also provides a window into a different life they might not know or a mirror into their own life."

"We're hoping that teenagers will come together and read books that have been challenging to a lot of people and really think about why these books are challenging to them and what they can learn from them," Merlin said.

Starting in September the club will meet once a month in the teen room at the library, a space that offers programming almost daily where teenagers are encouraged to learn and be creative.

"We have computers over here that teens can use," said Bridgewater, adding, "Over here you can see our creativity catalog. We took an old card catalog and filled it with craft supplies. So we really try to foster not only a love for reading and learning but also for creativity and expression in general."

For more on the program, visit the Peabody Institute Library website.

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