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Maine island library wants your banned books

MATINICUS ISLAND, MAINE (AP) – There’s an Island of Misfit Toys in the popular holiday classic. Now there’s an island for unwanted and banned books, too.

The tiny library on Matinicus Island 35 kilometres off the Maine coast is on a mission to fill its shelves with books that have fallen out of favour elsewhere.

From And Tango Makes Three, the story of two male penguins that raised a chick together, to classics like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, all books are welcome including those that are being banned or cancelled in other parts of the country.

Eva Murray recently returned from a trip to the mainland with a bunch of books including And Tango Makes Three, which the American Library Association said is one of the most banned books in the country.

“We are buying banned books in order to publicly push back against the impetus to ban books. To say, ‘If you don’t want it in your library, we want it in ours,’” Murray told the Bangor Daily News.

For years, islanders just traded books among themselves, but they decided to create a grassroots library in 2016 in a donated storage shed.

It expanded in 2020 to add a second shed for a children’s library with help from a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.