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Banned Books Initiative

Banned Book Initiative

Started in 2022, the Banned Books Initiative is a cross-campus organization that includes the Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries; the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center; Peabody College's Department of Teaching and Learning; Peabody College's Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion;  Divinity School; Office of LGBTQI Life; the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center; the Robert Penn Warren Center; the Student Center for Social Justice & Identity; Parnassus Books, and Nashville Public Library.

2024 Events


Banned Books Initiative: Panel Discussion

Wednesday January 24th, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Central Library Community Room

In collaboration with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Central Library will host a Narrative 4 Story Exchange as part of this year’s Banned Books Initiative. The event will take place in the Community Room of the Central Library from 5-7pm on Wednesday, January 24th.

Participants are invited to come together to share their individual story about how they found a book personally transformative. These stories will be shared in an intimate and safe setting and will help highlight the importance and value of our most beloved books. Guests will then be given the opportunity to write a postcard to their local legislator in response to the ongoing book bans across the nation.

The first 20 participants to RSVP will receive a meal from Satay Thai Restaurant and a free banned book. Register to attend here.

If you want to come out to show your support and write to your local legislator, it would be great to see you there!

For more information on Narrative 4 Story Exchange and how this empathic form of storytelling provides individuals with essential emotional and practical skills to improve their communities and their own wellbeing, you can read more here.


Banned Books Week 2023 Events

Banned Books Week Reception: Little Library Launch

Wednesday, October 4th, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Commons South Lawn

*Remarks begin at 12:15 p.m.

Join us for the kickoff of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals. We will launch the opening of our own campus "little banned books library," with a discussion of how reading banned books can be a form of advocacy and activism. Refreshments will be served.

Banned Books Initiative: Panel Discussion

Thursday, October 5th, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Central Library Community Room

Book bans and censorship affect the entire community -- from librarians, authors, and journalists to teachers, community leaders, and readers of all types. This panel discussion will focus on the affect of banned and challenged books on the community, as well as touch on the role of advocacy in fighting these challenges. Panelists include:

  • Lisa Bubert, Librarian 2, Nashville Public Library, Madison Branch
  • Caroline Brooks DuBois, Author
  • Anna Bernstein, Advanced Academic Coordinator, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Bellevue Middle School
  • Chris Sanders, Executive Director, Tennessee Equality Project
  • Kent Oliver, Library Consultant & former Director, Nashville Public Library
  • Emily Pendergrass, Associate Professor of the Practice of Literacy Education, Peabody College of Education & Human Development (moderator)