Library unveils winning designs in banned books trading card project

Cards will be released for public collection starting Sunday

Collect all seven

One banned book trading card per day will be released throughout the week, available at both the library, 700 New Hampshire St., and the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

After Sept. 28, remaining cards will be sold at the library and through for $7 a set plus a mailing fee.

From the seemingly innocuous “Charlotte’s Web” to the oft-maligned “Catcher in the Rye,” this year’s winning banned books trading cards feature a variety of titles.

Throw in assorted mediums to illustrate them — art-quilting, crayon and digital collage, to name a few — and the spirit of banned books is captured in a well-rounded set of trading cards.

The Lawrence Public Library announced the winners of this year’s Banned Book trading card design contest Thursday night during a party at Liberty Hall, surprising the seven people whose designs were chosen from nearly 100 entries.

Banned book author Mark Twain, played by Kansas University Department of Theatre associate professor John Staniunas, hosted the award ceremony, unveiling life-sized versions of the seven selected cards onstage to a full audience.

One winner, Leah Hoelscher, who discovered last night that her depiction of 2007 banned novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was selected, says the reveal was a shock.

“My mom works at the library,” Hoelscher said. “After my name was called, she told me she had known for a week that I’d won!”

Last year, the fledgling project drew about 40 entries and got national attention — the library had to order a second printing of cards and devise a way to sell and ship them in short order as demand came in from across the country.

“There was so much buzz about the project last year, and people were really astounded about the concept of combining arts and literature,” said Jeni Daley, the library’s marketing coordinator.

This year, Banned Books Week will be celebrated nationally from Sunday through Sept. 28, with one card per day being released to the public.

All 99 entries are viewable in a gallery on the library’s website, Daley said the library received entries from a 4-year-old child all the way up to professional artists.

This year’s winning artists and the books they represented are Mary Burchill, “Bless Me, Ultima”; Nicholas Ward, “Leaves of Grass”; Leah Hoelscher, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”; Chloe Seim, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”; Blake Nations, “Charlotte’s Web”; Bobbie-Frances McDonald, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”; and Barry Fitzgerald, “The Catcher in the Rye.”

The project aims to show the community that the library is more than simply a place to get books, Daley said.

“We’re celebrating intellectual freedom through Banned Books Week,” Daley said. “But on top of that we’re bringing in the talents of local artists, and we’re combining it with the talents of really famous authors.”