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Indy Reads, Well Done Marketing partner to provide free banned books

Multicultural Spotlight: Banned books offered free to the community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Amplifying voices through literature is the mission of the partnership between Well Done Marketing and Indy Reads.

With the banned book list growing around the state, representatives say the work is about expanding literacy and bringing diverse stories to light.

The latest Well Done Marketing banned book club book is “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” It will eventually be added to the selection of free books at Indy Reads. Representatives say removing books from libraries doesn’t mean the stories disappear.

Inside the non-profit Indy Reads, banned books aren’t really banned. But some of them are free to take.

“Discomfort is necessary. We need to know each other. We need to learn from each other. We need to grow and connect with each other. So, we are committed to all books accessible to all people,” said Indy Reads CEO Ruba Marshood.

Marshood says the organization centers a lot of its work around social and economic equity through education, literacy, language, and workforce development. Its bookstore serves as a backdrop and a space where all stories are welcome and told.

“Really inviting and encouraging when that discomfort comes up. Let’s talk about it. Let’s learn about it. Let’s be curious together. And I think by making those books accessible, we are providing opportunities to build connection, expand our empathy,” she said.

Grace Phillips is a writer and says this is another way for everyone here to combine their creativity and do something meaningful.

“That’s why we care about banned books in particular. These books are about marginalized groups. They are books by women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers … They are for and about these groups. So, it’s really important to us that we amplify those voices as much as we can,” Phillips said.

The banned book club buys the books locally from Indy Reads. The club reads the books and then donates them back to the community, free for the taking.

“We care about a lot about Indiana. This is our hometown. Fountain Square is our home, and we care about amplifying this community as much as possible. And we care about amplifying all of the diverse voices,” Phillips said.

Marshood says there’s value in connecting with each other in unfamiliar ways.

“We get a better sense of ourselves, and our neighbors mostly good things come up, and I think mostly good things come of that,” Marshood said.