Read, Free, or Die!

As many of you avid readers were aware, September 22nd – September 28th was this year’s Banned Books Week. For those of you who don’t know, Banned and Challenged Books Week is a week to raise awareness of how intellectual freedom is still threatened in the United States. More literature than you’d expect has been challenged in public, school, and college libraries; sometimes books are even banned because of various inappropriate content. While some books might not have a place in a specific library, the challenges made by people that wish to remove materials that they personally do not respect severely limits our rights to intellectual freedom. 

Lisa and Marjie, my two librarian teachers, allowed me to take on Banned Books Week as my first attempt at display creation. Over the course of three weeks, Marjie helped me develop my project in a way that would provide information to kids and exhibit a compelling design. I decided that I wanted to have three main sections of the display: books that have been challenged in my state of New Hampshire, books that are taught at my high school and yet are frequently challenged, and other banned and challenged books that we have in our library’s collection. To add an interactive element to the display, Marjie and I created a contest where we censored one page out of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (a frequently banned book), didn’t post the title, and had kids submit their guess as to what the name of the book was in order to win a prize. My work periods during those three weeks were spent cutting and pasting to create the signage, assembling lists of all the banned books (most lists found on the American Library Association’s website), and arranging the books on our shelves. 

This project open my eyes to just how many books have been banned, many of which are books I love! The Hunger Games, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men- even classics are not immune to the danger of being banned. This project also gave me the opportunity to run wild with my ideas for the display, and to work with the freedom and importance that a professional librarian would. 

Stay tuned for my next project: weeding the Reference section! Eeek!

~Julie

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