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INDIANAPOLIS — As libraries and school districts around the state discuss re-shelving or removing certain young adult books, Hoosiers have begun opening bookstores in an effort to protect debated titles.

The Indy Star reports that entrepreneurs like author Leah Johnson are opening local shops that sell a variety of titles, including those that address underrepresented and/or oppressed communities.

Statewide book classification policies gained national attention when Indianapolis-based author John Green disagreed with the Hamilton East Public Library over its board’s decision to re-shelve his bestseller, The Fault in Our Stars.

That library has since decided to pause and review its collection development policy.

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Johnson says she wants to make books by LGBTQIA+ authors and authors of color available to the masses. You can support her efforts by shopping at Loudmouth Books later this month, once it opens on 16th Street.

Natalie Pipkin, who owns the Black WorldSchoolers mobile bookstore, tells the Indy Star, “If I was a bookstore in the ’60s, I’d probably be on the FBI Most Wanted list. We’ve always been at war around literacy.”

But, new shop owners are not only inspired by political and cultural shifts.

They also recognize that physical books, and local bookstores, have become more popular since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, some want to be part of a world that gives their children access to all kinds of literature.

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Other bookshops that are planning to open in the near future include Dream Palace Books & Coffee, Golden Hour Books, and The Whispering Shelf.

If you live in the Indianapolis area, you can also check out some of these local shops right now:

Ujamaa Community Bookstore – 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, Indianapolis

Indy Reads – 1066 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis

Tomorrow Bookstore – 882 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis.

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