CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Public Library has come together with local artists to commemorate Banned Books Week with a different trading card for each day.
Banned Books Week begins on Sunday. Director of the Chapel Hill Public Library, Susan Brown, says that the event is a national celebration of the freedom to read.
“Sponsored by libraries, book stores, and publishers, that seeks to educate people about the challenges to intellectual freedom, books that are banned, books that are taken out of schools, books that are even censored,” Brown says.
Even today, books continue to be banned from schools and libraries. Recently, in Randolph County, public schools voted to remove Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” a classic mid-twentieth century novel, from the school curriculum and library. Brown says that in cases like this, banning books is limiting access.
“It’s very interesting, I think sometimes people bring challenges to books for some good reasons in the sense they want to protect their children from difficult issues, or they are maybe offended by language,” Brown says. “But by taking these books out of places, they are limiting the access for people that want to be challenged or aren’t offended by those issues.”
This year, the Chapel Hill Public Library asked artists to submit works inspired by banned books or authors to be used for trading cards. Brown started this community involvement last year when she was the marketing director at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas.
“The idea is that it is a unique way to get people to engage with this issue, and it also brings in the artistic community, and often the artists have challenges to their work as well,” Brown says.
From a selection of 48 submissions, a small jury including Brown,Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Daniel Wallace, and others from the arts community selected the seven that will be presented during the week. Each day, a new card will be revealed. Brown says that the cards cover a range of books and art styles.
“So there’s everything in there from Charlotte’s Web to Brave New World to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” Brown says. “So, like I said, there’s all kind of different art and all kinds of different books represented.”
The library will host an exhibition of all forty-eight entries to the project, and 500 cards will be available free at the library. Each day, you can visit the library and pick up the card of the day. Cards will also be available for purchase online, and the proceeds will go back towards helping the library.
For information on purchasing cards click here.