Library uses trading cards to kick off Banned Books Week

Sep. 22, 2013 @ 07:05 AM

Today, the Chapel Hill Public Library will unveil the first of seven Banned Books Trading Cards designed by local artists to bring awareness to the problems of censorship.
The project is part of the library’s celebration of Banned Books Week, a national celebration of the freedom to read that meshes art, literature and intellectual freedom
While new to Chapel Hill, the trading cards, inspired by books that have been banned or censored, originated in Lawrence, Kan., last year under the direction of Chapel Hill Library Director Susan Brown who was the marketing director for the Lawrence Public Library.
Brown, hired in March, decided to the launch the program in Chapel Hill this fall. 
“Our trading cards are a great way to engage local artists and highlight the great arts communities in each town,” Brown said in a news release. “But the real goal of the cards is to spread the word about ongoing challenges to our freedom to read.”
In fact, both libraries will begin to unveil the cards – one each day through Sept. 28 -- starting Sunday.
Patrons can simply walk up to the customer service desk and ask for the trading card of the day.
The seven trading cards were produced by local artists and chosen from among 48 entries by a “jury” that included Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, noted author Daniel Wallace and members of Chapel Hill’s arts community.
“There’s a pen-and-ink drawing inspired by George Orwell and a collage inspired by Robert Cormier’s young adult novel ‘The Chocolate War,’ ” Brown said. “The art is wonderful and it draws people into a more important message – they are often shocked at the books that have been banned.”
Library patrons and others who cannot make it to the library during Banned Books Weeks to collect the trading cards can buy them on the Friends on the Library website at www.friendschpl.org/. 
Money collected from card sales and during a “Sneak Peek Party” held on Friday where patrons got a chance to bid on the seven winning, original art pieces go to support the library’s collections, programs and services to the library.
Banned Book Week was started by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of book challenges in schools, bookstores and libraries.
Since 1982, more than 11,300 books have been challenged, including a reported 464 challenges in 2012.
In North Carolina, the Randolph County School Board voted last week to remove Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” following a complaint by a woman’s son who found it “too much for teenagers.”
The woman also complained about book’s language and sexual content.
The ALA’s list of challenged books for 2012 is topped by the “Captain Underpants” series by Dav Pilkey, which is frequently challenged because of offensive language.
The others on the list of Top 10 challenged books are:

  • “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie.                                                                                      

    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

  • “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher.

    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.

  • “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James.

    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit.

  • “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group.

  • “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini.

    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.

  • “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green.

    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

  • “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz.

    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence.

  • “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls.

    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit.

  • “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.                                                     

    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence.