Billings Public Library Planning Banned Book Scavenger Hunt

Sep 15, 2017

Some of the books in the Billings Public Library Banned Books Scavenger Hunt
Credit Kay Erickson

The Billings Public Library has found a novel way to call attention to books that have been banned for one reason or another.

Billings Library Foundation is hosting a scavenger hunt the last week of this month, Sept. 24-30, 2017, National Banned Books Week.

Some of the publications banned in recent years include the Hunger Games, Pulitzer Prize winner Beloved, and Brave New World.

Leslie Modrow is the Development Director for the library foundation, the library's fundraising arm.         

She said the hunt will begin Monday morning, Sept. 25, and each morning clues will be posted on the library foundation Facebook page.

Scavenger hunt books are covered in black paper
Credit Kay Erickson

Modrow said five copies of the book would be available at each day’s location, wrapped in black paper with a message on the front of why the book was banned. On the back will be instructions on what to do when you find it.

“We want you to obviously keep the book, and read the book, said Modrow. “But we would like you to take a photograph of yourself with that book and send it to our Facebook page so we can track the progress on how the scavenger hunt is going.”

She explained that reasons varied for banning books.

“Some things could because they were racist, they were magic--Harry Potter was a banned book,” Modrow said.

Other reasons have included language, sexuality or homosexuality.

One of the banned books with a sticker of why this book was challanged
Credit Kay Erickson

“Anything that maybe a group of people feel uncomfortable with, or don’t feel their children are ready to explore yet,” Modrow explained.

"And it is something that is still a contentious topic and something that we still need to keep out into our forefront so there isn’t a group controlling what we read. “

Modrow called the scavenger hunt "an opportunity to draw awareness to the freedom to read."

The clue each day will be something written and a photo of the book located in that particular spot around Billings. The book and the locations will change each day.   

Those individual winners will be in the running for a chance to win VIP tickets to the Foo Fighters concert in December.

Other local libraries are planning events tied to National Banned Books Week including Bozeman Public Library in conjunction with the Montana State University LibraryLewis and Clark Public Library and MSU Billings Library will both have displays of banned books throughout the week.

Books in the Billings Public Library Banned Books Scavenger Hunt

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury