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In the battle over books, Nashville library's response? 'I read banned books' cards

The flyer advertising the new library cards.
Brown, Ed (Library)
Nashville Public Library
The flyer advertising the new library cards.

As efforts to control books continue in Tennessee, a library in Nashville is pushing back with a bold new campaign: A card that says "I read banned books."

The Nashville Public Library is issuing 5,000 of the limited-edition cards — printed in bright yellow — to readers in Davidson County for close to a month.

The clampdown on books in the state follows an"unprecedented" year for book bans in 2021, according to a report from the American Librarian Association. Gov. Bill Lee recently signed a law that required school libraries in Tennessee to screen materials for age-appropriate content, Chalkbeat reported. Another bill, which passed the Tennessee House, would criminally penalize school librarians if they fail to remove books the school board deems "obscene," according to The Associated Press.

This year, MausArt Spiegelman's graphic novel about the Holocaust — was removed from the curriculum in McMinn County, northeast of Chattanooga. In Williamson County, south of Nashville, the school board voted in February to remove Sharon Creech's Walk Too Moons, about a teenage girl coping with the loss of her mother.

"This campaign is our way of bringing our community together in our shared Freedom to Read, which is essential to sustaining our democracy," Nashville Public Library director Kent Oliver said in a press release.

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Rina Torchinsky