Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Trading Cards: Collect 'Em All!

When I was a kid, trading cards featuring the likenesses of athletes, comic book heroes, and more came in packages of bubble gum, inside cereal boxes, and other consumer-friendly containers that appealed to children. It became a big deal among my classmates to collect an entire series of trading cards, and the frenzy to swap cards reached a fever pitch during lunch breaks and recess.

Front of a banned book trading card from Lawrence Public Library.
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The appeal of trading cards is still strong these days, a fact that the staff of Lawrence Public Library recognized when coming up with banned books trading cards. Specifically, Susan Brown, the marketing director of the public library in Lawrence, Kansas, got the idea to produce these cards as a way to heighten awareness of intellectual freedom, particularly during Banned Books Week.
Back of a banned book trading card from Lawrence Public Library.
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"Libraries usually have a display of banned books and maybe a Read Out or panel discussion about censorship," Brown told the Library as Incubator Project. "I was thinking of new says to get the message out." Once funding was secured, in the form of a $1,000 grant from the Freedom to Read Foundation that was matched by the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library, the project to create banned books trading cards was green-lit.

For the front of the cards, local artists designed small-scale works that were inspired by the banned book and its author. Brown provided the information for the back of the cards, including the title of the book and its author, the reason why it was banned, the name of the artist responsible for the work on the front of the card, the artist's statement, and the logos of partnering institutions.
2013 banned books trading cards from Lawrence Public Library.
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The banned books trading cards have proven to be such a hit that other libraries have followed suit, including the Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina.

For each day of Banned Books Week this year, the Library as Incubator Project is featuring banned books trading cards from the Lawrence Public Library and the Chapel Hill Public Library on its website. You can take a look HERE.

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