In celebration of this year’s Banned Book Week, the Washington D.C. public library system has organized a “UNCENSORED banned books” scavenger hunt and is encouraging readers to get out and find free copies of books that at one point or another had been hidden from the public eye.
From banned classics like The Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse Five to works like Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which still faces challenges in school classrooms today, the goal of the scavenger hunt is to not only get these important banned books into readers hands, but to also raise awareness of an increasing trend in the United State and around the world.
“This year, as part of our celebration of Banned Books Week, we have placed hundreds of paperback copies of several banned books in various locations around D.C.,” notes the D.C. Public Library regarding the event. “Each book is wrapped in a custom cover featuring the stated reason that the book was banned and/or challenged.”
According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, more than half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities. By putting copies back into the community—at local libraries and business—the D.C. public library system is actively fighting back against efforts made by censors throughout history and encouraging readers to do so as well, by posting on social media about the books that they find.
Although the hunt has already begun in D.C., Banned Books Week itself officially starts September 25. Check out the full list of titles and more details about the scavenger hunt and other events in the D.C. area here.
Get ready for Banned Books Week by utilizing many of the resources CBLDF has put together, and don’t forget to check out the CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook, available at your local comic shops and online now!
Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!