On October 3rd-7th, the Libe was celebrating banned books week, along with other libraries across the country. Historically–and even presently– in the United States, books have been banned for content that was deemed unfit for younger audiences and meant to protect them. Books also were–and are still–banned for adults and audiences deemed vulnerable.
I was given an assignment to make book covers for these books with buzzwords that were the reason why they were banned. Many books have been banned for reasons you may find obvious, such as Lolita for being obscene. It is a book that tells the story of a middle aged creepy man who was creeping on a teenager. There were some that made sense during the time, such as the For Whom The Bell Tolls, which was banned for being unpatriotic in an era where patriotism was essentially mandatory…and then there were some not so obvious, such as The Lorax which was banned for anti-logging.
I’m one of the new library outreach workers, and this was my first project. It was an interesting process because before I had been looking at tutorials and brushing up on photoshop. This was my first crafting task that would be displayed publicly in the Libe. It was a very bumpy process honestly, but I still learned quite a bit from it, despite the hiccups in learning how to design book covers, making one size fits all book covers with only one useable and affordable paper size available, multiple reprintings etc.
This project had me using Indesign to make versatile book covers. Because we were using books of many varying sizes, it was important that we could output as many book covers as possible without too much strain. The best available paper to use for all of the book covers was 11×17 and the pages were folded accordingly to fit the books. Some book covers needed to be extended because either the spine was too large or the book itself was too tall. After working with Nat from Archives, we both folded the covers and prepared them to be presented.
Overall, the process was very fun and informative and I’m very happy to see the installation go up. However, the installation didn’t stop there. Over the course of the week, we’ve been able to tell that people have been looking at the books: they’ve been removing the covers to see what books are banned for what reason, and it’s pretty neat to see that people have been taking us up on the invitation to learn about banned books.
Product: Banned Book Covers Prompt from Outreach team: Create book covers for a list of banned books. Student worker: TA