Alexandra (Alex) Steele, Read Free

Read Free founder Alex Steele

When I joined KS WELI, I was excited to be surrounded by a group of driven women but I never imagined becoming a founder. Thanks to the incredible programming and community, I came to believe that I was capable of making my ideas a reality. Without KS WELI I doubt I would be where I am today.”

Alex Steele, Class of 2023

About the FoundHER(s)

I became very concerned with the rise in banned books across the U.S. and especially in Texas. When looking at the statistics, there is a very clear and very disturbing picture that emerges. Modern book bans are overwhelmingly targeting diverse books. Of the 2,571 unique titles challenged in 2022, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. After taking the class “Banned Books and Novel Ideas” for my English degree, I felt particularly empowered to start creating content about the freedom to read. My first project was the creation of the Read Free podcast which you can find on Spotify and Apple Podcasts! 

Read Free founder Alex Steele at KS WELI Women's Summit
Read Free founder Alex Steele in a crown with a yellow free library
Read Free founder Alex Steele outside of the KS WELI building

About the Company

Created in response to the dramatic uptick in book bans across the United States, Read Free was born out of a passion for the freedom to read. We know firsthand how powerful a book can be. For some, the right book isn’t just life-changing, it’s life-saving. Modern book bans overwhelming and disproportionately affect diverse stories which reduces representation on library shelves. We believe that every story matters.

Our first project was the creation of the Read Free podcast in October of 2022. Through this channel, we focus on education news surrounding the freedom of expression. In August of 2023, Read Free established the Banned Together Book Club. The club meets monthly to discuss a selected work of banned literature and foster a sense of community. Read Free also has a merchandise line available on the Read Free website. 

To maximize our impact, Read Free is planning to develop into a non-profit. In doing so, we will be able to increase access to life-changing diverse literature. We believe everyone deserves to see themselves represented in the pages of a book. 

ImageRead Free Instagram post announcing website

Read Free

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Read Free is dedicated to fighting unfair book censorship and encouraging quality representation for all.

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