It has been 40 years since Banned Books Week was established, which annually observes the literature challenged in libraries, schools and bookstores across the country.
Recent controversies in the Ozarks — including a book ban in the local school district and a new Missouri law that prohibits teachers from providing students with books with explicit material — have raised local awareness of the subject.
For those interested in examining banned and questioned books, there is a new Springfield Book Club starting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at BookMarx downtown, hosted by Springfield-Greene County Libraries District hosted.
“In addition to reading and discussing the books themselves, we will discuss other ideas surrounding intellectual freedom and the importance of diverse books, such as how books can act as ‘mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors’,” said Krystal Smith, Midtown Cards Negie Library Reference Manager.
more:Behind closed doors, Springfield school board rejects two attempts to ban books in 2021
seven art lStaff in the library district have redesigned the covers of banned books, which are displayed in the library as trading cards.
The reverse of the card lists the title, author, reason for the ban, and a statement from the artist on the cover.
“We’re doing this to draw attention to Banned Books Week,” said Kathleen O’Dell, director of public relations for the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
Luna Cooper created the cover for Ashley Hope Perez’s book “Out of Darkness,” which was banned from many national libraries for depicting abuse and what was deemed sexually explicit.
“Get out of the dark to tackle some heavy topics, but not without some grace and empathy,” Cooper said in her statement. “The horrors of racism and abuse are not being masked, but neither are they being exploited.”
more:The Nixa school board made other changes after banning books in May. The parents cried terribly.
Her sister and artist Maia Cooper did the cover for Toni Morrison’s “Bluest Eye”; Jay Young did the cover for Judy Blume’s “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret”; Danny Dye redesigned Alex Gino’s “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret” Rick”; Niki Cox did Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give”; Ben Divin did Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy”.
None of the books were banned in Springfield.
Library distribution manager Joey Borovicka spent about 8 hours drawing his reimagined cover for Sherman Alexei’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” which was marked by profanity, sexual innuendo, and derogatory terms. use is prohibited.
All seven library employees who created the cover have extensive artistic backgrounds, including Borovicka, who holds an MFA in painting from Indiana University. He also teaches art and painting in Missouri.
“We have a lot of creative people in our library,” Borovicka said.