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Celebrate the Freedom to Read: Helping Michelle crowd source this great BBW resource

It’s Banned Books Week.  Michelle Luhtala shares a crowd-sourced project that will help us promote censorship awareness as we pool our efforts to create a project with far and lasting reach.

Michelle proposes that we work together and contribute to a Challenged Books Slide Show.BBW-logo122h

She explain explains the back story:

This project began when a fellow Connecticut librarian posted a question to our listserv community via email in the first week of September.

After many years in a middle school, I’m in a high school for Banned Books Week for the first time. I’d love to hear some ways you’ve celebrated this week in your high school. I’m going to meeting with the English Department on Tuesday to talk about doing something during Banned Books Week with their classes and it would be great if I could impress them by coming in with a list of excellent ideas!​  David Bilmes

I excitedly replied.

OOH! You just inspired me to think of something new. Since we are just getting started with our makerspace, I might set up a collage table with color printouts of the 100 most challenged book covers, glue, scissors, and butcher block paper. Maybe they’ll come up with something creative we can display in the school.   Just a thought…

And the month flew by….

I’ve had my crafts table project idea on my to do list for three weeks, but it is not in place for tomorrow morning. I did start collecting the book cover images though. The American Library Association (ALA)’s Office of Intellectual FScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 5.24.51 AMreedom is the best list collector for Banned Books Week. My favorite is the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books from 2000-2009.

There is a 20th century list, but most our students were born after 2000, so I  am not sure that is as relevant for them as the post-2000 list. I found that Goodreads was the best resource to find images of consistent size and quantity images, so I created a list there.

I started a spreadsheet, which would allow us to sort and manipulate information, but I didn’t think that was classroom friendly.

This post, by the way, offers a glimpse into my time management issues. You see? I was just going to print pictures, but already, I created a list in Goodreads, and an unfinished spreadsheet. Printed pictures? Nope. Still don’t have those.

In populating the spreadsheet, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to include the

  • year of publication
  • page count
  • interest level
  • reading level
  • Lexile number
  • content concerns
  • description
I was really liking the spreadsheet idea, but that did not solve my picture problem. I still needed printable pictures for my makerspace idea. Printing the Goodreads List did not work – even in PDF. For some reason, titles overlapped, plus they were too small. So I decided to create a slide show, and print that. Then it occurred to me that a slideshow might be a nice instructional tool to pass along to others like David who sent the original listserv post, so I added place holders for all the columns on the spreadsheet next to each book cover image – year of publication: page count,   interest level, reading level, Lexile number, content concerns, and description.
I am still trying to populate the slideshow, and today is the first day of Banned Books Week. It occurred to me on my way to the School Library Journal Leadership Summit that this was a perfect project to crowd source.

So . . .

This was a very long-winded request for help.

If 20 school librarians tackle 5 slides, we can collectively knock off the project pretty quickly. We could have this thing ready for use in schools everywhere when students arrive on campus in the morning.  Are you in?

Tips:

(Michelle thanks Elissa Malespina and Jane Lofton who jumped right on board at the Summit.)
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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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