National spotlight shines on library's banned books trading cards, now available for purchase online

The Lawrence Public Library’s banned book trading cards are blowing up — even with no bubble gum in the pack.
With requests to get them coming in from across the country, the library ordered a second printing and started selling packs online last night.

Emails from teachers, book lovers and other libraries started rolling into library marketing director Susan Brown’s inbox Sunday, when we published a story about the innovative art-books collaboration and the colorful cards it created.

At first Brown figured the library could just mail cards, pay the postage and mention that a donation would be great. But things snowballed fast.

“Monday morning, my inbox was just flooded,” Brown said. “By Tuesday we knew that we had to have a plan.”

The library lassoed up a PayPal account and permission from each artist for the second printing. They set up a purchasing mechanism on the library website,, where shoppers can get a pack of all seven cards for $7. After-cost proceeds will go to the library and the artists.

The library believed the trading card project was the first of its kind and expected some national attention, at least in the library world, but Brown said this much attention was a good surprise.

The Associated Press picked up my story, and on Friday The Huffington Post wrote a story along with images of the cards. A number of blogs have highlighted the project, too.

Not only does the project’s popularity showcase the library’s efforts to promote reading, Brown said, “It really highlights the arts scene in Lawrence.”

Locals can still get the trading cards for free in-person at the library, 707 Vt., and the Arts Center, 940 N.H. — as long as supplies last.

Here's our photo gallery of all the cards:


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