FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local library and bookstore is celebrating banned books this week, while still fighting a state law that would limit what minors can check out from a library.
Back in July, Arkansas libraries, bookstores, and readers filed a lawsuit against Act 372, a law that would prohibit libraries from giving books considered “obscene” to minors. The Fayetteville Public Library is part of the lawsuit. That law is currently on hold as the lawsuit plays out.
Leah Jordan is a parent who is concerned with the books being taken off shelves at her child’s school.
“My oldest child is in first grade at a public school here in Fayetteville. And there was a book banned last year during her academic school year,” said Jordan.
She’s also the owner of Pearl’s Books in downtown Fayetteville and this week, she’s celebrating National Banned Books Week.
“It’s a way to bring awareness to the fact that censorship is happening just in our nation at a really alarming rate,” said Jordan.
Jim Curry is a teen librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library.
“This is the week in which we highlight those books and celebrate those authors who are facing these challenges,” said Curry.
Arkansas Act 372 prevents books considered “obscene” and “harmful” from being checked out by minors. It was supposed to take effect in August, but a federal judge blocked it.
“So many books are facing challenges or bans across the country. So this is the week in which we highlight those books and celebrate those authors who are facing these challenges,” said Curry.
The Fayetteville Public Library is doing this through art. It put a call out for local artists to submit an interpretation of banned or challenged books to be made into trading cards.
“It’s important for all of our patrons to be able to see this art on display and to have these discussions about banned books week because this is a reflection of our community and our country,” said Curry.
Five were chosen and are on display at the library. This week is serving as the second round of celebrations for Fayetteville Public Library and Pearl’s Books. Both are plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Act 372.
“It’s an easy thing to kind of pretend like it’s not happening or like it doesn’t exist, but it’s something that we should all be wary of,” said Jordan.