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Aesop's Queer Library in Manhattan
Michael GeorgeAesop's Queer Library in Manhattan

A queer library will be handing out free books in Manhattan all weekend

Free books, no strings attached!

Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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Book nerds, rejoice! This weekend, free books by LGBTQ+ authors will be available in three Manhattan neighborhoods, thanks to The Aesop Queer Library.

This initiative—by the soap and self-care company you probably recognize if you've ever washed your hands in an upscale restaurant—aims to share queer stories and amplify voices of people of color during Pride.

Through Sunday, June 27, Aesop's Bleecker Street store removed its inventory, replacing shelf contents with queer books to share for free. Every guest will be gifted one free book, no strings attached. The library will is also set up in Los Angeles and Toronto.

The library of over 150 authors and 6000 books is collectively sourced amongst Aesop’s own employees and documented on Aesop's website, should you want more reading recommendations.

"We are not simply changing our logo or launching a Pride-themed collection, this multi-layer gesture of generosity is aimed at supporting our LGBTQIA+ staff, customers, independent queer-owned books stores and the communities within these three cities," said Adam Kakembo, Aesop’s Chief Marketing Officer. "As a company committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture, we are mindful of the heinous crimes, discrimination, and oppression of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum."

The queer library books were originally purchased from queer bookstores including Toronto's Glad Day and Chicago's Women and Children First. Penguin Random House also donated titles by its LGBTQ+ authors including Hilton Als, Ocean Vuong, Akwaeke Emezi and Brandon Taylor, among others.

You may want to bring a book to read while you wait for your next one however -- lines snake down the block at Aesop Bleecker. The initiative, which launched earlier this week, has already gone viral on TikTok.

Those who want a new queer read without waiting in line can also visit nearby LGBTQ bookstores Bluestockings or the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, an independent bookstore located inside The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

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