Ban Book Displays

Every library has a display promoting banned books. It must be ordained by that secret librarian cult we keep hearing about — if not, I suppose it’s just one of those fads giggle-voiced librarians read about in Teen Booklist and simply must try out. I see these displays everywhere, and have for the last decade.

How wildly convoluted these displays have grown in the years since I left off to college from my hometown library. Once, it was simply used books on a shelf, the area simply labeled by way of tacky but non-obtrusive WordArt taped onto yellow construction paper.

Now, there are tissue-paper bonfires, fueled by grocery-bag logs. There are multiple layers of construction paper behind a legend that describes what each particular book. At one library, some enterprising intern must have suggested duct taping a mesh net over their banned books bookcase, cementing the point by drawing prison bars over the word, “Books.”

It’s become such a trend that the first thing I choose to notice in a given public library is its banned books display, and there’s a good reason — the accessibility of books in the banned books display is inversely proportional to the amount good humor that exists among library staff.

It almost makes sense that a library with an open-air banned book display has relatively friendly librarians, that the meanest librarians come from a library whose display sits behind locked glass panels on the other side of the front desk. Almost.

I miss my library, and its simple, uncontrived banned books collection. Less because I read a lot of banned books; more because we didn’t have any mean librarians.


  1. AT reader

    Yo Ben!, what’s up? Waiting for an update.

  2. There’s a precedent for lulls every so often. Don’t worry — I haven’t forgotten.

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