The Chapel Hill Public Library is drawing attention to issues of censorship and freedom of expression with its sixth annual Banned Books Week.
From Sept. 23 to 29, the library will be celebrating Banned Books Week in the form of several events, most notably by displaying trading cards that will highlight banned books and authors.
Banned Books Week has been celebrated by libraries and the literature community every September since 1982 after concerns of censorship began to rise, particularly in schools. That year, the Supreme Court decided in Island Trees School District v. Pico that schools didn’t have the authority to ban books solely based on content. However, there still remain concerns about banned books, and the commemorative week aims to bring attention to the issue.
“The idea behind it is to support people’s freedom to read, and to bring attention to ongoing cases of attempted censorship and things like that,” said Chapel Hill Library Director Susan Brown. “Books are rarely truly banned, but they’re often challenged, censored, removed from curriculum and such.”
At the center of the Chapel Hill Library’s celebration are seven trading cards. In appearance they are similar to sports trading cards with an image on one side and statistics and information on the back. Each year, the library puts out a call to local artists to create images that are inspired by either a banned book or artist, and the seven winning images end up on the front of each card.