YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — A controversial book ban in Central York sparked anger and protest from the community. It also inspired a TikTok and an amazon wish list that drew in thousands of donations of the banned books.
In August staff in the Central York School District were sent an email with a list of banned resources they were told not to use in their classrooms. Much of the material was about diversity and race. This drew criticism from the community and led to protests and debates with the school board.
One of the people fighting against the board was local woman Hannah Shipley. She was angry when she tuned in to a virtual school board meeting and heard board members defending the ban.
“That night I was upset and I didn’t know what to do so the next day I was like alright well I’ll make a TikTok,” Shipley said.
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In her TikTok, she talked about an Amazon wish list she made of books from the banned list. At first, she got a few dozen people donating. Then Brad Metzler, author of ‘I Am Rosa Parks’, one of the books on the list tweeted about her list. That’s when it really took off. Book donations poured in from across the country.
“They just keep coming which is incredible and we are so grateful,” Shipley said.
The ban has since been reversed, but the deliveries keep coming. Shipley now has about 4,500 books sitting in her living room. Along with a group of volunteers, she is planning a massive giveaway to get those books to kids, teachers, and librarians in the community.
“Without this how will the future of our nation know about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, all of those incredible, important people,” Shipley said. “That’s how you teach a love of diversity and that’s how you teach a love of reading.”
She is thrilled to be able to help share the stories with Central York students.
“I was a preschool teacher for a long time and books have always been really important for me so for me to be able to reach out into the community and have an impact like 4500 books can give, that is really awesome,” Shipley said.
Mostly she’s looking forward to this story’s happy ending.
“These books are for them and that’s what I want. I want them out in the community and frankly, they don’t need to be in my living room much longer,” Shipley said.
The giveaway is happening on Wednesday, September 29 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Cousler Park, Pavillion E. The books will be available for free and refreshments will also be provided. Any leftover books will be given to underserved communities in the area.