24 Hour Library

A Library Blog by Abby Hargreaves

Category: Show Off (page 2 of 2)

Show Off: Banned Books Week

There are, as you might imagine, a lot of rules around political involvement and being an employee of local government. Librarians and other library staff are often employed at the town or city level by the local government, making them subject to these rules. This means no speaking to patrons about personal political leanings, who you’re likely to vote for, or what your stances on particular issues are. This means no wearing t-shirts that proclaim loyalty for a candidate, disdain for another candidate, or anything else that might be politically suggestive.

What’s interesting to me is that libraries and librarianship are inherently political. Despite how we may be required to refrain from sharing our political opinions, libraries are — or, at least we try to be — democratic. We’re about equal and equitable access to information. We’re about standing in solidarity for the right to free speech and the reception of that speech (intellectual freedom). We’re about protecting privacy, as many libraries pushed back against the Patriot Act and its implications. And so, annually, we celebrate this with Banned Books Week in September.

This year, Banned Books Week begins today, September 25, and runs through October 1. Given the opportunity to put together a display about banned books in the young adult section of one of the libraries where I work, I got straight to planning. Teens are probably on the receiving end of book banning more than other populations. Sure, children’s books And Tango Makes Three and King and King among others have faced a fair amount of challenges, but teens encounter challenged books for both teen and adult audiences, the former frequently found in school and public libraries, the latter often used in the classroom. So, to promote awareness of Banned Books Week and intellectual freedom, I put up the display below in the teen section of the library, complete with bookmarks that offer further content in the form of eBooks available through the library.





I’m happy to say the books have been flying off the shelves and have needed replenishing each day I’ve gone in. One of the important bits, I think, is to make sure visitors are aware that they can check out books on the display, so the bookmarks with eBook options were inserted into each book on display with “Check me out!” at the top. I used print books (both fiction and graphic novels) as well as audiobooks and the eBook collection. What are you doing for Banned Books Week?

Show Off: Audiobooks

Welcome to a new category of posts — Show Off! Show Off will feature book/material displays designed and stocked by yours truly. While I’ve done several before, I’ve admittedly done a less-than-stellar job documenting them. But no more!

Audiobooks are pretty ideal for summer. With long road trips likely for many, audiobooks can keep the whole family occupied. This particular “category” of materials is also a good choice for small collections. Unlike more specific topics of choice such as First Ladies, butterfly breeding, or English castles, audiobooks provides a supply less likely to run out unless you have an especially small audiobook collection. With the ability to replenish materials as customers check them out, audiobooks are a great piece of your collection to feature during the summer months.


It’s easy to put out a mix of audiobooks that appeal to various ages by including adult and children’s materials (and YA!). Picking audiobooks with colorful covers and mixing those colors together can help make the display more attractive and interesting to those passing by. Within the few minutes between me finishing the display and taking these pictures, one audiobook had already been snatched up. I replaced it, and left the display as a full set.

Remember you can include nonfiction as well as fiction. While some road trippers may wish to be strictly entertained during their journeys, others may prefer to also learn during their trip. Items regarding historical happenings may be especially pertinent as people travel toward historical landmarks and aim to learn more about them on the way.


You’ll of course want a sign that describes the display. I find it’s especially important to communicate to customers that these items are available for checkout. Before I went into libraries as a career, when I was a timid teen patron, I generally assumed books on displays were not only not available for checkout, but also not to be touched. Why would I want to destroy someone’s clearly thoughtful and hard work? Well — it’s high time to change that attitude; and I’m sure it still exists. This particular sign encouraged customers to grab an audiobook as a part of their packing plans for their road trip. This particular display is also in the unique position to point customers to the eCollection. Although the eCollection cannot so easily be displayed here (unless printouts of covers were made to post), customers are reminded of the availability of eAudiobooks and encouraged to speak wit a staff member for more information.

Material displays can very easily broaden customers’ understanding, perception, and use of the library. It’s the perfect way to show customers that the library has things customers did not know they wanted or needed. This display, simple and requiring little thought, is perfect for the busy season that not only involves vacations for many customers, but the nonstop work that comes with summer reading programs! Make it easy on you and your customers with an audiobook display!

Thanks to the Cherrydale Branch in the Arlington Public Library system for giving me the opportunity to feature a part of their collection!

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