During the first week of October, readers across the country celebrated Banned Books Week, and Chapel Hill was no exception.
Librarians and booksellers throughout the town fully embraced the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week theme for this year, “Let Freedom Read,” which emphasizes how book bans stop readers from experiencing new perspectives in literature.
On UNC’s campus, the Information and Library Science Student Association hosted a banned book reading on Oct. 4, where students read banned books aloud on the front steps of Manning Hall.
UNC Libraries also hosted a button-making event outside Davis Library on Oct. 6 where students could make buttons that featured the covers of frequently challenged books.
“We’re hoping that events like this will kind of just raise awareness about celebrating the freedom to read,” Karina Soni, the outreach projects librarian at UNC Libraries, said.
The Banned Books Week celebration extended beyond UNC’s campus.
On Oct. 1, the Chapel Hill Public Library hosted an Intellectual Freedom Panel Discussion as part of its Right to Read campaign. The panel, which included government officials and librarians from across North Carolina, discussed censorship and intellectual freedom.
Through the month of October, the library is also showcasing the top 13 most challenged books of 2022 and statistics on book censorship in United States.
The exhibit specifically highlights the rise in reported book challenges last year, which increased from 1,858 books in 2021 to 2,571 books in 2022, according to the American Library Association.