Carmel High School’s Book Crooks raise funds for libraries hit by hurricanes


Carmel High School librarian Terri Ramos wanted Banned Books Week to pay off.

Kim Lenzo holds up her mug shot in a prison uniform. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

The annual week, which was Sept. 24 to 30 this year, is designed to raise awareness about the harm of censorship and promote the freedom to teach.

“We wanted to draw attention to Banned Books and censorship and at the same time raise money for libraries, one out of Texas and one out of Florida, that had been affected by the hurricanes,” said Ramos, department chair for media and communications.

What Ramos concocted was a plan using an app to turn 11 teachers’ photos into police mug shots and calling them Book Crooks. Each teacher chose a banned book to discuss and had a bucket to collect funds.

“Whichever Book Crook we collected the most money for would be in jail Oct. 2,” Ramos said.

Kim Lenzo, who teaches in the family consumer science department, collected the most money, more than $600. As a reward, she wore a pinstriped jail uniform the entire school day. There were bars on her classroom.

Ramos said more than $1,900 was collected. She expected the figure would top $2,000 with the teachers paying $1 to wear jeans Oct. 4.

The American Library Association has list of books that have been challenged.

“They put the most popularly banned books of the decade (on the list),” Ramos said. “Lots of books are challenged for lots of different reasons.”

Matt Dillon, a social studies teacher, went on the TV announcements to kick off the fundraising campaign.

“He held up a ‘Harry Potter’ book and said ‘we won’t have any magic in here’ and put it down,” Ramos said. “He had a stack of books, zeroed it down to one thing and threw it down on the ground.”


Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact