PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State University’s Clark Memorial Library is marking the national Banned Books Week with a display near the entrance of the library that showcases information about banned books and the threat of other books that are being challenged in different organizations.
“2022 is projected to have the most challenged books of all time,” said Suzanne Johnson-Varney, Director of the Clark Memorial Library. “Access to these titles is critical, and libraries can provide that access.”
The books featured in the library’s display are not banned within its own collection, but are books that have been challenged throughout different circuits to be removed from shelves. Building this year’s display, Johnson-Varney and her library staff referred to a list of the most challenged books this year to pick out appropriate titles.
“Our display has been really popular this year,” she said. “We had to resupply the display just this week – we love that.”
Banned Books Week is an annual event that is celebrated in libraries and book stores around the world to promote the freedom to read. The library hopes its display will highlight its mission to provide an open access space to information.
“It’s really important for us as the library to represent all of our population so people can recognize themselves,” Johnson-Varney said. “You just never know what a person is going through, and they might find solace in the story that represents their own struggles.”
The Banned Books display will be available until the first week of October. The next library display will promote LGBTQ+ books in honor of LGBT history month. Both displays will be located on the main floor of the Clark Memorial Library.