How did we make our Banned Books Week display?
1. Research - What are this year's most frequently banned and challenged books? Where are those bans taking place? What's happening locally? We gathered information from the American Library Association (https://bannedbooksweek.org/), PEN America (https://pen.org/campaign/banned-books-week-2022/), and used Kelly Jensen's Book Censorship News features on Book Riot (https://bookriot.com/category/censorship/) to find local news stories.
2. Find the books! We had most of the titles on our shelves already, because we stock classics, new and exciting books for kids, and most titles that appear on assigned reading lists for students. We ordered a few more titles that weren’t already on our shelves and chose a prominent display space.
3. Visuals - What information do we want to share with our customers? How can we support students, teachers, librarians, and readers who are fighting against censorship?
We made new shelf-talkers to identify which titles are frequently banned and which titles have been challenged in NC. We’re flying “READ BANNED BOOKS” flags created by The Bitter Southerner, and offering free buttons supporting the fREADom to Read. You’ll find a printed copy of The Freedom to Read Statement and QR codes to connect with local school boards.
4. Taking Action - Now that you've read this far, what can you do? Our local public libraries (Chatham County Libraries, Orange County Public Library, and the Chapel Hill Public Library) follow the ALA's Freedom to Read statement. Send your library board a message of support! If you appreciate that your library stocks and displays books created by BIPOC and featuring LGBTQIA+ stories, let them know! Bans and challenges often come from a vocal minority; this is a good time to become a vocal majority in support of diverse stories and the right to read.
Learn about your local school board - who is up for election? When is the next meeting? What is the codified process for challenging a book that's part of school curriculum or on the shelves in the school library? As a parent or community member, do you support student access to diverse and challenging books? Then send a message to your local school board!
Chatham County Schools Board Homepage: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/index.aspx?s=190
Orange County Schools Board Homepage: https://www.orangecountyfirst.com/Page/1401
To contact the members of the School Board, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org*
*All mail correspondence to and from the Orange County Schools is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law, which may result in disclosure to third parties.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board Homepage: https://www.chccs.org/domain/1052
To send a message to all CHCCS Board Members and the Superintendent's Office, please email: email@example.com
All mail correspondence to and from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law, which may result in disclosure to third parties.