It’s been a strange year in Beaverdale — some of the books have been selling themselves.

“We believe in offering what our customers are looking for,” says Jan Danielson Kaiser of Beaverdale Books in Des Moines.

They’ve been looking for those that have triggered Iowa lawmakers; those that have been removed from schools.

Banned books have had a banner year.

“It does create buzz!” Kaiser says. “And it creates conversations, discussions…hopefully, some new readers…”

Riding the wave of attention, Beaverdale Books and a host of other reading enthusiasts will celebrate Banned Books Week with a special festival.

Author Ashley Hope Perez will be there to discuss her celebrated but targeted book, Out of Darkness. Others will speak virtually, and a panel of older readers from the south will discuss To Kill a Mockingbird because—somehow—it’s back in the crosshairs again.

“I did think that banned books were a thing of the past because they kind of were for many years!” laughs Sue Woody, Des Moines Public Library director.

Woody says promoting Banned Books Week used to be tricky.

“It was no big deal,” she shrugs, “same titles over and over again. But this year, it’s something remarkably different.”

The movement at the Capitol has been a rallying cry for those who understand the value of the information and experiences on our shelves.

“Just because you don’t want your child to be reading these books or to have access to this information doesn’t mean you should not let other people have access to that information,” says Woody.

Since the days of Mark Twain, part of America has been trying to hide certain books. Often it’s had the opposite effect.

“By challenging these books we’re drawing attention to these books,” Woody says. “People start reading these books and reading makes us think. At some point — because of the attention they’ve received — maybe some of these books will become our next classics.”