The Knight-Capron Library at the University of Lynchburg recently received the Virginia Library Association’s award for the best display during Banned Books Week 2018.
Held every September, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and freedom of expression. It was launched in 1982 in response to a surge of attempts to ban books from libraries and bookstores. The Virginia Library Association sponsors a contest each year for libraries that use creative ways to educate people about the week.
Haley Lott, the University of Lynchburg’s outreach and public services librarian, took the lead on creating “Reading Banned Books Rocks,” an interactive display for Banned Books Week 2018. She and Sarah Anderson ’18, a student worker, painted rocks with images from banned books and hid them around the library, along with information about the books.
When a students found the rocks, they would bring them to the front desk of the library to claim a prize. The books featured included the Harry Potter Series, Frankenstein, Catch-22, Handmaid’s Tale, Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and some others. The House on Mango Street was included as a celebration of September being Hispanic Heritage Month.
Even before winning the Virginia Library Association contest, the hidden rocks were a success. Students were invested in looking for the rocks and the activity sparked sparked a discussion about being able to read and be a part of a community, Lott said.