The library’s annual Banned Books event is on display throughout the library. Patrons can fill out a form to “ban” a book. Many patrons have angrily expressed concern over the library’s act of “banning” books until staff members explain that this is an exercise that highlights what happens when books are banned.
The event actually celebrates the freedom to read, but during the event we are allowing patrons to pick a book they want to “ban” along with the reason for it. The reasons range from tongue-in-cheek – banning the dictionary because it has too many words and no plot – to serious concerns over the graphic nature or perceived bias of a book. The book is then locked in our display cabinet to highlight how banning a book removes it from circulation for all patrons, not just the one who bans it. All books will return to regular circulation when the event concludes in mid-October.
A popular part of the event is the photo op available to patrons. Staff members help patrons don a striped inmate shirt and place them in front of our green screen. The resulting photo-shopped pictures of patrons with their “banned” books have become very popular. The wall of Most Wanted Book Banners is an eye catcher. Thanks to the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office for the use of “costumes” so that patrons can get into character.
The banned books event has been an annual program since we began the displays in autumn 2010. It is always one of our more interesting events as most patrons have a strong opinion on the library’s role.