Celebrate the freedom to read with Banned Books Week, Oct. 1–7 

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries invite the Vanderbilt University community to take part in Banned Books Week, an annual awareness campaign that draws attention to banned and challenged books while promoting the value of free and open access to information. The week of events, scheduled for Oct. 1–7, will bring together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. 

Vanderbilt will mark Banned Books Week with the following events. 

Banned Books Week Reception: Little Library Launch 

Oct. 4, noon–2 p.m. 

Commons South Lawn 

Join members of Vanderbilt’s Banned Books Initiative for a kickoff reception for Banned Books Week. The event, which will include the opening of a “little banned books library” and a discussion of how reading banned books can be a form of advocacy and activism, will take place on the Commons South Lawn, with remarks beginning at 12:15 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Co-sponsors for the event include Parnassus Books and the Nashville Public Library. 

Banned Books Initiative: Panel Discussion 

Oct. 5, 5–7 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 impact on the community and explore the role of advocacy in fighting those challenges. The panelists are:  

  • 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 and former Director, Nashville Public Library 
  • Emily Pendergrass, Associate Professor of the Practice of Literacy Education, Peabody College of education and human development (moderator)

To further promote awareness and advocacy, campus partners involved in the Banned Books Initiative will host a series of reading groups throughout the academic year. Learn more and register for these events.  

The Banned Books Initiative includes the 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; the Divinity School; the Office of LGBTQI Life; the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center; the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities; the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity; and Parnassus Books. 

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