Banned Books Week is celebrated each year in the fall, to bring awareness to the freedom to read. Even though some books are banned or challenged in schools for various reasons, libraries support open access to all expressive works. The American Library Association is a strong advocate for the freedom to read and publishes the top banned and challenged book lists yearly to raise awareness and promote reading these books. This year’s theme was “Words Have Power.” Feel free to view the list of the banned/challenged books that Bellevue University Library has available in its collection.
This year, the Bellevue University Library offered some activities throughout Banned Books Week, which was September 24 – 30, to educate our students. Our first activity was a Game of Thrones Lunch & Learn discussion on Tuesday, September 26. For anyone who has read the books by George R. R. Martin or watched the HBO TV series, there is some content that could be challenged by individuals or schools. And, since Season 7 just ended last month, this was the perfect time to offer this lunch & learn! Overall, 14 people attended and the feedback was very positive. Chrystal Dawson, Colin Kehm, and Joel Hartung lead the panel discussion and even polled the audience in a quiz to see who knew the most. Student, Greyson Arens, got the most questions correct and won a Jon Snow keychain. It was a fun discussion and a great way to start off Banned Books Week.
The next activity held on Wednesday, September 27, was cookie decorating. Patrons could frost and decorate a sugar cookie with their favorite banned book cover art or symbols or phrases. This was actually a repeat activity from last year because it did so well, and we wanted to offer it again. It was equally successful with 17 people decorating cookies.
Our final activity was a craft-making event, “JARgons and Boaster Coasters,” in which we expressed our right to write by making word jars and coasters. This was a fun activity with a record 25 people participating and showing off their creative skills.
Overall, it was another successful Banned Books Week full of all kinds of activities to raise awareness and educate others about the freedom to read whatever you want. Next time you are in the Library and are interested in reading a banned/challenged book, please let us know and we can help you find one. Just remember, “Words Have Power, Read a Banned Book!”