By Bob Taylor
Northumberland Public Library
Libraries have long been outspoken defenders of the First Amendment which guarantees, among other rights, the freedom of expression in both speech and print. Libraries throughout the country take it upon themselves to inform the reading public of threats to these freedoms. In March 2016, the Northumberland Public Library will open an exhibit called Banned Books. The exhibit will feature examples of books which, in contradiction of the First Amendment, have been challenged, condemned or outright banned somewhere, sometime during their publishing history.
As a way of maximizing the community’s attention to this issue, the Northumberland Public Library invites the participation of Northern Neck residents. We are calling upon artists, aspiring artists and erstwhile artists to join the campaign against censorship by creating a visual representation inspired by a book that has been banned or challenged. The artwork should demonstrate artistically how or why the book was condemned. Artists may work in any medium.
Completed works should be delivered to the Northumberland Public Library, 7204 Northumberland Higway, Heathsville, VA 22473, by February 8, 2016. The works of art will be evaluated by lbrary staff and a selection of the entries will be included in a special art exhibition in the library’s gallery/meeting room. The exhibition of artworks will run through March concurrent with the exhibition on Banned Books. Winning artists will receive additional considerations to be detrmined. Criteria for judging will be originality, effectiveness of presentation, clarity of theme and artistic proficiency.
Those wishing to participate may choose any book they like. Or they may select from a list of banned books available at the Northumberland Public Library and on the Library’s website (www.nplva.org). If the art work is based on a book not on the Library’s list, then the artist must provide written evidence of when and where the book was challenged or banned.