May 31, 2022 - News

"Banned books" library card proves popular

Banned books library card in Nashville.
Image: courtesy of the Nashville Public Library

A limited-edition library card proclaiming "I read banned books" is so popular that officials have decided to make it a permanent option.

Why it matters: The Nashville Public Library unveiled the provocative design in April following months of national and local debate about censorship and book banning, including the McMinn County school board removing the graphic novel "Maus" from their curriculum.

  • The campaign launched days after state lawmakers approved legislation that gives a politically appointed panel the power to remove books from school libraries across the state.
  • Library leaders initially intended to make it available for only a month as part of their "Freedom to Read" campaign.

By the numbers: More than 4,200 Nashvillians signed up for the "banned books" library card, according to a statement. That's nearly double the average monthly signups.

  • About 100 people from other states asked for a card as well.

What they're saying: Although the campaign missed its goal of 5,000 signups, Nashville library director Kent Oliver deemed it a success.

  • "Most importantly, we came together," Oliver said in a statement praising the city's positive response to the cards.
  • "From now on, this design will be available for anyone who wants to sign up as a new patron or switch their current card for this design."
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