As part of its Books for All initiative championing the “right to read freely,” the New York Public Library has joined forces with Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, and Scholastic to offer readers across the U.S. access to a digital collection of commonly banned books—including Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Macmillan/Square Fish), King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic Press), Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Little, Brown), and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Little, Brown)— via the library’s free e-book reading app SimplyE.

NYPL announced the effort on April 13, stating that these select digital “unbanned books” will be available to readers ages 13 and older from now through May 31 with no wait times and no fines. The “unbanned books” join the larger Books for All collection, which contains hundreds of public domain titles available to readers nationwide whether they have a library card or not.

This move is a response to the recent spate of book challenges and bannings in school and public libraries across the country and re-emphasizes the NYPL’s mission, which is “rooted in the principles of free and open access to knowledge, information, and all perspectives.” The effort also echoes the latest push from the American Library Association, which last week (National Library Week) announced the Unite Against Book Bans initiative, aimed at empowering readers to stand together against censorship.

“These recent instances of censorship and book banning are extremely disturbing and amount to an all-out attack on the very foundation of our democracy,” New York Public Library president Anthony W. Marx said in a statement. “Knowledge is power; ignorance is dangerous and breeds hate and division. Since their inception, public libraries have worked to combat these forces simply by making all perspectives and ideas accessible to all, regardless of background or circumstance. While that shouldn’t feel like an act of defiance, sadly it is. And we are proud to be part of it.”

In the same vein as NYPL, the Brooklyn Public Library announced on April 13 that its librarians and teen volunteers have launched the Books UnBanned initiative to help teens fight censorship and book banning. BPL is offering readers ages 13–21 anywhere in the U.S. an opportunity to apply for a free eCard (waiving the $50 out-of-state fee) allowing them to access the library’s digital collections of 350,000 e-books, 200,000 audiobooks, and 100 databases.

The free eCard will be good for one year and readers will not only have access to BPL materials, but they will also be able to connect with members of BPL’s Intellectual Freedom Teen Council to share information and resources about combatting censorship, and book recommendations, among other things. Teens who wish to apply for the free card can do so by sending an email request or making contact via the library’s teen-run Instagram account, @bklynfuture.

Apart from the teen-focused campaign, BPL is also making available a curated selection of commonly challenged books with no holds or wait times to all BPL cardholders, which can be accessed through the library’s online catalog or Libby app. Those titles include The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Tomboy by Liz Prince, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison.

“We cannot sit idly by while books rejected by a few are removed from the library shelves for all,” Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library, said in a statement. “Books UnBanned will act as an antidote to censorship, offering teens and young adults across the country unlimited access to our extensive collection of e-books and audiobooks, including those which may be banned in their home libraries.”

And BPL’s chief librarian, Nick Higgins added, “Brooklyn Public Library stands firmly against censorship and for the principles of intellectual freedom—the right of every individual to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. Limiting access or providing one-sided information is a threat to democracy itself.”