Nashville Public Library honors Banned Books Week amid state school restrictions

The Nashville Public Library is celebrating banned books by featuring many on display.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - More than 1,500 books have been banned from school libraries across the country this year alone. Tennessee is one of the top five states with the most banned book titles.

Whether you pick out a book or walk the aisles of shelves in the Nashville Public Library, Ed Brown wants the place to be a safe space.

“We believe all information should be available freely,” said Brown, Nashville Public Library Public Information Officer.

This week, the library honors Banned Books Week.

“We are seeing more challenges and growing lists of titles that are getting challenged or banned,” Brown said. “Most often, challenged.”

The books are banned in school libraries and classrooms by the state. They cover certain topics like gender identity, race, and sex. However, it’s up to each school district to make their decision.

Robin Steenman is a Williamson County mom who believes parents should decide what their kids read.

“I can read you excerpts from some of the books in Williamson County libraries that you would be fined for showing on the broadcast,” Steenman said.

She says she doesn’t believe books should be banned, but some shouldn’t be available to students and be funded by taxpayers.

“In a school library, the parental reign is not there so the children really have free reign to check out what they want,” Steenman said.

“We are keen on parents being involved with what children are reading, right?” Brown asked. “They are the children’s first mentor.”

Brown said while 1,500 books were banned last year, that number may go up.

“It’s broke record numbers last year. and it’s on track to do it again this year, according to ALA,” Brown said.

The NPL says there are few instances when they take a book off the shelf. They say usually they are non-fiction and were plagiarized or offer incorrect or dangerous information in a healthcare setting.