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The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


Student Athlete Focus: Kennedy Fauntleroy

A New Type of Book Fair

Senior Katelin Carter Provides an Opportunity for High School Students to Access Banned Books After the Recent School Board Decision
Bailey Fulk
The banned book table in the FLC presents information on the recent county school’s book ban and senior Katelin Carter’s banned book fair. The ‘pay what you want’ event will take place on Thursday, April 4, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the FLC’s great room and is open to all students, faculty and community members.

Bridgewater, Va.- Following the Rockingham County School Board’s decision to ban 57 “controversial” books from many schools’ libraries, one Bridgewater College student steps up to advocate for students’ access to those titles.

On Jan. 8, 2024, the Rockingham County School board voted 4-1 in its monthly meeting to temporarily ban 57 books from libraries across the county. Many of these books fall into categories and issues of LGBTQ+, gender identity and race.

The RCPS School Board Chair, Matt Cross, expressed that he has received concerns about books with profanity, sexually explicit material and violence. Though this issue would directly affect students, most of the input given in the meetings has been from the parents.

“I think that students should be able to read what they want without the school taking that away from them,” said an RCPS senior. “I think many students would also agree with me when saying that. I think it’s ultimately up to the students to make the decision on what they want to read.”

Banning books is nothing new. In the US, the idea dates back to the early 1600s, when Thomas Morton’s “New English Canaan” was banned for criticizing the Puritans.

In 2022, more books were banned and removed from public and school libraries than any year in this century so far. The common themes in those books include LGBTQ+ and gender identity.

These are the same topics that led the Rockingham County School Board to their decision to ban a portion of the books from the schools’ libraries. This decision has received both positive and negative reactions from students and parents and has even caught the attention of college students.

One student in particular, senior Katelin Carter, has taken a stand against this decision and is advocating for high school students across the county to have access to these books through a book fair.

“I want all students to feel represented in the literature that they’re reading, and like I said, many of these books are targeting minority groups that are often not represented,” said Carter. “It’s detrimental to ban books that are representing those groups for the first time, and there’s no reason why a student should be banned from reading a certain type of literature.”

The book fair idea came about after the board decision was made and Carter’s need for a capstone project for her Professional Writing Major. With guidance from her professor and mentor, Dr. Sam Hamilton, Associate Professor of English, the project came to fruition.

“Dr. Hamilton and the rest of my class have been so supportive of me throughout this process,” said Carter. “Dr. Hamilton has really lit a fire under me and helped direct me towards different resources. He’s really been there for me throughout my entire time at Bridgewater.”

The book fair will be formulated on a ‘pay what you want’ basis. The money will be donated to the National Coalition Against Censorship, a nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of thought and expression and advocates against censorship.

Carter is still looking for book donations up until the event, which is Thursday, April 4, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the FLC’s Great Room. Students can donate new or used books from the list, either by dropping them in the bin on the main floor of the FLC or mailing them to the BC English Department.

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About the Contributor
Bailey Fulk
Bailey Fulk, Editor-in-Chief
Business Administration and Communication, Technology, and Culture Majors Junior, Class of 2025 I joined BCVoice to get experience in news writing and editing to utilize in my future career. I plan to work in the marketing or communications fields. I am currently an academic coach and president of Alpha Phi Omega.