The New York Public Library Urges Patrons to Read, Think, and Vote with the Release of Its 2020 Election Reading List, Offering Nearly 200 Recommendations for Adults, Kids, and Teens

Illuminating voting issues including healthcare, education, climate change, and foreign policy, the 2020 Election Reading List aims to help readers get informed before casting their votes

The New York Public Library is continuing its commitment to making knowledge accessible to all with the release of its 2020 Election Reading List. As the nation prepares for Election Day on November 3, the Library’s expert librarians have broken down the key issues at the top of both presidential campaigns, and compiled reading recommendations to help inform and prepare readers to vote. 

The list—found at nypl.org/election2020 — is broken down into three age categories: adults, kids, and teens. It aims to illuminate the intricacies of issues central to this year’s election and our current political climate, including race, immigration, and education. Compiled with expertise from across the Library system and with diverse perspectives in mind, the 2020 Election Reading List includes nearly 200 nonfiction and fiction titles spanning the gamut of democracy and voting issues. Highlights of the list, along with the subjects covered, include: 

  • Climate Change: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
  • Economy: Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor by Steven Greenhouse
  • Education: Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education by Noliwe Rooks
  • Foreign Policy: The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen
  • Gender Equality: Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism edited by Daisy Hernández & Bushra Rehman  
  • Gun Control: Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz
  • Health: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah
  • Immigration: We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future by Deepa Iyer
  • LGBTQ+ Rights: Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen
  • Media: Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy by Claire Bond Pitter
  • Policing: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by
  • Polarization: Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein 
  • Race: Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population Is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation by Matt Barreto and Gary M. Segura
  • Voting Rights: Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America  by Ari Berman

To be an informed voter, one must first be registered. Along with the list, the Library has aggregated all the resources needed to vote in its Get Informed & Vote guide. Here, readers can find out how to register, identify their current representatives, and where to find their polling place.

The Library is also putting voting and getting informed front and center at its Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, where the beloved library lions Patience and Fortitude will hold books encouraging New Yorkers to vote. 

“With the world turned upside down, there is heightened awareness around the upcoming election. With myriad long-standing issues facing our nation, we want to ensure that our patrons can make the best possible decision when filling out their ballot,” said Anthony Marx, President and CEO of The New York Public Library. “The Library has been, and remains, uniquely positioned and committed to inform and engage, and we continue that work with the 2020 Election Reading List.”

The Library invested in additional digital copies of books on these lists; books can be borrowed for free via the Library’s digital collections, including through its e-reader app, SimplyE. Patrons can also place holds on physical copies of the books, which can be picked up at one of its current Grab-And-Go locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

Selections from the list are also available at the NYPL Shop.

In addition to the book lists, the Library is hosting multiple free virtual events focusing on election issues, voting, and how we got here. 

The Library’s 2020 Election Reading List follows its June release of the Black Liberation Reading List, curated by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (one of the Library’s research centers), and the August release of NYPL’s Essential Reads on Feminism; both serving to inform and educate readers on these important subjects.

Other lists released this year include: 

  • 125 Books We Love: As part of the Library’s 125th anniversary, our librarians chose 125 books to celebrate some of the titles that have inspired them to #LoveReading.
  • 125 Books We Love for Kids:  125 titles from the last 125 years that inspire those both young and young at heart to love reading—from timeless classics to new favorites. 
  • 125 Books We Love for Teens: Designed just for teens, this list ranges from graphic novels and modern classics to fantasy and romance, all filled with stories and characters that will be sure to make readers recognize a part of themselves.

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been one of the world’s leading free providers of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

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