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Brooklyn Public Library Raises Over $77k on Classy Program Designation in One Year to Fund Books Unbanned Program

Mission

To provide the people of Brooklyn with free and open access to information for education, recreation, and reference

Challenge

Support teens’ access to a wide range of books and provide a safe space to learn, ask questions, and read what they want

Solution

Leverage Classy’s comprehensive fundraising suite to inspire targeted donations to Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned program

Since launching Books Unbanned and Classy at about the same time, we have really seen our national and even international audience of supporters grow. We are grateful for the outpouring of support and are encouraged to know so many people care about teens’ freedom to read what they choose.

– Lauren Arana, Assistant Vice President, Development

Books Unbanned Results in the First Year:

$77,000+

raised on Classy for Books Unbanned through program designation

6,000+

e-library cards issued to teens nationwide

88,000+

e-books checked out



The
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is the sixth largest library system in the U.S., encompassing 61 branches across the borough of Brooklyn. The library offers free resources and services like literacy programs, lectures, resume and career help, computer centers, teen internships, and more. You can even check out records and musical instruments. It’s an inclusive place anyone can go, no matter their age or background.

Granting Access to Banned Books to Reignite Teen Learning

When BPL joined Classy, its team launched a program called Books Unbanned in response to the growing and coordinated attempts to ban books in libraries and schools across the country. BPL believes everybody, especially teens, has the right to intellectual freedom.

A group of BPL staff members, including Chief Librarian Nick Higgins and Young Adults Internship Coordinator, Jackson Gomes, designed the program to extend their digital library card to teens aged 13-21 throughout the country so they could access the extensive digital catalog of e-books. 

With Books Unbanned, we wanted to give support to young people and tell them they do matter, that their stories are important, and that they’re fully supported by a public library.

Nick Higgins

Chief Librarian

One year in, over 6,000 teens from all 50 states have received e-library cards through the Books Unbanned initiative and have checked out over 80,000 books. Since it began, Books Unbanned has been privately funded, and they’ve raised over $226,000 from individual donors and foundations to date. The funds for Books Unbanned support the movement that e-books remain accessible for free to teens throughout the country.

Thanks to private funding, we have had a lifeline. We have had the opportunity to continue what we have started. Our goal is to shine light where there is an issue, and now we are a beacon to get other library systems to realize that they can be a part of this and help us fight back.

Jackson Gomes

Young Adult Internship Coordinator

Using Classy to Fundraise for Books Unbanned

In a library system as large as BPL, it is critical to provide donors the opportunity to support their local branch or the programs they most care about. That’s why the team added Books Unbanned as an option in their program designation on their main donation page. To make it even easier, they also created a dedicated Books Unbanned branded donation page

When books are banned, it becomes an issue for all communities. BPL has seen an incredible increase in supporters who stand behind its mission and contribute their financial support to fuel its long-term impact.

The Future Is Bright for BPL

The next phase of Books Unbanned is to build a broader network of support from other libraries and figure out ways to support young people in their communities. 

With the newly implemented inline embedded donation form on the Books Unbanned landing page, the BPL team is looking forward to seeing donations roll in. Supporters can enjoy a streamlined and frictionless donation experience that reduces the steps one needs to take to support a program. It is truly a win-win for both the donor and BPL.

Brooklyn Public Library inline embedded donation form
Books Unbanned inline embedded donation form

With Classy in its corner, BPL can continue telling its powerful story, all while connecting with and engaging community members and supporters in meaningful ways. By offering multiple ways to support the library and programs like Books Unbanned, BPL is meeting supporters where they are and creating unique donation experiences that help build relationships with donors.

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