Feb 23, 2023 - Business

St. Pete activists keep banned books stocked

Illustration of a stack of books with barbed wire wrapped around them.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" will no longer be on Pinellas County school shelves, but it's popping up on library shelves around St. Pete.

What's happening: Literacy advocates and St. Pete residents are stocking the book and others challenged by the state with hopes to keep the stories accessible for students.

Catch up quick: In late January, Tampa Bay Times columnist Stephanie Hayes described slipping copies of the novel into free libraries in Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs as an act of rebellion. She received hundreds of emails and comments.

The latest: Keep St. Pete Lit opened a Banned Book Library over the weekend at American Stage's downtown St. Petersburg theater.

  • Residents can keep the library stocked with books no longer available in Pinellas County and other Florida schools by purchasing them through a gift registry at Tombolo.

Meanwhile: A St. Pete woman is keeping a little free library near her home stocked with "The Bluest Eye" and other books deemed "harmful to minors" by the county, WFTS reports.

Plus: Tombolo's new Banned Books Book Club meets tonight to discuss "The Bluest Eye."

What they're saying: "This is such a small, actionable way to make that change and show that you are in support of having this literature in our schools," American Stage spokesperson Avery Anderson told Fox 13.


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