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FTRF Announces the 2017 Banned Books Week Grant Recipients

Tuesday, June 20, 2017  
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The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) awarded seven grants to nonprofit institutions in support of 2017 Banned Books Week events. The grants, a project of FTRF’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, support a wide range of read-outs, displays, discussions, performances, and other educational initiatives that will engage communities in dialogues about censorship and the freedom to read.

The grantees for 2017 are:

Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Smith River, Calif. will hold a series of Banned Books Week awareness activities: including a banned book community read-out, banned and challenged book display, a banned book selfie campaign, "Blind Date with a Banned Book” program, and a community Zine workshop.

Rutgers University Libraries in New Brunswick, NJ, plans to collaborate with local community members, students, faculty and staff from the Mason Gross School of the Visual Arts to explore the ideas of intellectual freedom, censorship and banned books. The grant will provide an opportunity for students to create original art on the theme of banned books and the freedom to read, which will be widely shared with New Brunswick community members.

Carrol County Library in Huntingdon, Tenn., will collaborate with other local businesses to have community members dress up like characters from banned books and perform scenes from the books. The character(s) being represented will have a backdrop behind them shaped like a large book and decorated to fit the theme of the book. These will be placed around the town square so community members of the community will be able to walk from "book to book." Each book station will have a flier describing why the book was banned and the importance of having the freedom to read.

University of North Florida’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library in Jacksonville, Fla., will celebrate Banned Books Week with a month-long effort to raise awareness about the threat of censorship through graphic novel literacy. Graphic Novels under Attack will bring students, faculty and staff to events and activities in the library and around campus. It will include a bracket, exhibit, photo op, panel discussion, two pop-up makerspaces and social media content.

Alhambra Civic Center Library
in Alhambra, Calif. will incorporate the banned books theme across programming for different ages and integrate it into ongoing programs. The Center is committed to increasing awareness among both established participants and new library visitors. The desired outcome is to encourage conversation and further study with a diverse audience and encourage more discussion and interaction with one another.

Thorntown Public Library in Thorntown, Ind. plans to combine Banned Book activities with the town-wide Festival of the Turning Leaves. It plans to host Banned Book Story Hour as part of the festival schedule. Staff members will decorate a Banned Book themed parade float, set up special displays and activities, and host a banned book essay and poster contest. A lead up to an exciting open house banned book event highlighting winners’ works.

City Lit Theater Company
in Chicago, IL, plans to offer seven performances of “Books on the Chopping Block” at seven libraries, one for each day of Banned Books Week. The Company will cover the costs of producing the program by booking three or four paying libraries, then offer performances at other libraries that cannot afford to pay. It proposes to expand “Books on the Chopping Block” programming to include free performances to seven additional libraries in underserved neighborhoods in Chicago.