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DCPL organizes banned books scavenger hunt across DC

DCPL organizes banned books scavenger hunt across DC. (ABC7)
DCPL organizes banned books scavenger hunt across DC. (ABC7)
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At more than a dozen locations across D.C. this month, visitors might be surprised to find books. And these are books that, at some point, have been censored or challenged.

This is part of a scavenger hunt, organized by the D.C. Public Library, recognizing Banned Books Week.

In all eight wards, these famous books are hiding in plain sight, covered up with words describing why they were once deemed inappropriate.

For example, critics used the word "pornographic" for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." And parents, appealing to school board in Ohio, described "The Catcher in the Rye” as anti-white.

Through social media, DCPL is encouraging scavenger hunt participants to visit one of 15 District businesses to find their free copy.

The Politics & Prose bookstore on Connecticut Avenue NW is one of the locations.

“People tend to think of banned books as something that belongs to the past and they don't think that kind of censorship can go on in America today, but it does,” said Jon Purves, the bookstore’s director of marketing.

Just this spring, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have forced schools to notify parents when their children were assigned to read books with sexually explicit content.

For many parents, that's not censorship. They just want to decide what their kids read.

“Everyone should be engaged and aware of this issue to be sure that one person's opinion about a book doesn't influence everyone else's access to that material,” said DCPL Director of Programs & Partnerships Meaghan O'Connor.

By the end of the month, more than 400 copies of these books will be distributed throughout the District. Participating businesses include bars, restaurants, even a clothing store.

Each day, clues on the library’s twitter account direct participants where to find these books.

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Scavenger hunt participants – ages 21 and up - are also competing for tickets to a September 30 cocktail party hosted by the D.C. Public Library Foundation.

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