GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As more schools and libraries face growing concerns about which books students are reading, secret reading clubs are popping up around Grand Rapids.
Lotus Brew Coffee and Dry Bar offers a wide range of controversial books and a safe reading space for all to enjoy.
“The entire point of the secret gay coffee club is it’s not really a secret,” owner Max Freeman said. “It’s probably one of the worst-kept secrets in Grand Rapids.”
The wellness center on the city’s northeast side offers free rentals to hundreds of mostly donated books.
“There’s a lot of LGBTQ+ books, books that are written by people of color. There’s a lot of books on race and equality. Even like, ‘Maus,’ which is about the Holocaust, is also being targeted,” Freeman said.
Freeman said the banning of books in places like Texas, Florida and other areas closer to home inspired him to fight back peacefully. His shop’s library also provides a whole row of resources for parents and mentors whose friends or children may have just come out.
“They’re great resources about coming out, being trans, being poly,” he said. “I even have, like, an entire section for a resource for parents.”