For Banned Books Week, THHS Librarian sets up read in, urges students to get library cards

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With Banned Books Week beginning this week, the Townsend Harris library is planning to raise awareness about censorship and the importance of reading in various ways throughout the week. In addition to daily announcements and library activities throughout the week, on Wednesday, all students and teachers will pause during an extended third band for a “read in,” where they will read whatever they choose to read independently.  

To encourage students to read both this week and throughout the school year, on Monday, September 12, Librarian Arlene Laverde sent out an email informing students that September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. People who live, work, or go to school in New York City are eligible for a free library card in Queens Public, Brooklyn Public, and New York Public Libraries. Ms. Laverde released a video explaining the process to sign up for a library card and encouraged students to take the opportunity to do so. 

“Students in New York City don’t realize how lucky they are to have access to all three [library] systems,” said Ms. Laverde. “With a public library card, you can access hundreds of databases [for research needs]…thousands of books, electronic books, and audiobooks.”

Despite the large amount of resources available to Library Card Holders, the act of physically going to the library to borrow and return books, or signing up for a library card, is unappealing to some people. Ms. Laverde said, “Even if you don’t want to walk into a library…[you can get an] e-card. You fill out the form online… you get your library card, set your pin, and now you have access to all the databases, movies, and music.”

In a letter to all students and parents announcing the reading period, Ms. Laverde wrote, “​​Research has shown a direct correlation between academic success and reading, and it’s clear that when we read more we learn more. Beyond that, however, I believe that building a culture of reading and teaching students to make daily time for personal reading just makes lives better. 

Photo by Chayti Biswas