Local leaders plan ‘Banned Book Readings’ in Richmond

Richmond surveys residents on planned renovation of Main Library
Photo of Main Library courtesy of Richmond Public Library.

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond City Councilmember and organizer Cesar Zepeda will join librarians and special guests to read books being banned in Florida and Texas.

The “Banned Book Readings” for all ages will take place Sat., July 22 at 1 p.m. at the Multicultural Bookstore, 260 Broadway Street in Richmond and at 1 p.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 12, Aug. 19 and Aug. 26 at the Richmond Main Library, 325 Civic Center Dr. in Richmond.

In organizing the Banned Book Readings along with the library and bookstore, Councilmember Zepeda said that he aims to raise “awareness about the various books being banned and how they target many of our communities.”

Special guest readers will come from a variety of communities and will include U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, Richmond City Manager Shasa Curl, Walnut Creek City Councilmember Kevin Wilk and El Cerrito Mayor Pro Tem Tessa Rudnick, the latter two having been targets of antisemitism, per Councilmember Zepeda. Reader dates and what they will read are still being finalized, but the aforementioned community leaders have committed, as have LGBTQ leaders including drag queens.

Councilmember Zepeda told the Richmond Standard that “Books take us to places we’ve never been and allow us to walk in other people’s shoes, adding that “By banning books, we’re silencing communities and trying to erase history and it’s not ok.”

Later he underscored that we ban certain things from our society because they are bad, but that “these books are not bad.”

“Come out and support our last bookstore in Richmond, the Multicultural Bookstore. And from there, come out and enjoy our library being opened on Saturdays,” said Councilmember Zepeda in a Facebook post.

Learn more about the Multicultural Bookstore and Richmond’s Main Library.