So many things make libraries magical, from the books they hold to the community they create and, of course, the people who work at them. Whether they’re curating displays, recommending reads or connecting folks with community resources, librarians do so much — and they don’t always get sufficient credit for it.

In fact, Tennessee’s librarians have had a particularly rough year. Public school librarians, for example, have been criticized and scrutinized following allegations that they promote obscene material to minors. (They don’t.) While school librarians have taken heat, the folks at the Nashville Public Library have responded to calls for censorship in the best possible way — with the Freedom to Read campaign, which included library cards boldly proclaiming “I read banned books.” As the NPL celebrated its annual Banned Books Week, which has been around for decades, it received a bomb threat that forced all its branches to temporarily close. (A Canadian man was ultimately arrested in connection with the threat.)

Despite all this, public libraries remain a community stalwart. They provide so much more than books and media. Take a glance at NPL’s events page and you’ll see programming that includes exercise, games, informational workshops and more. Don’t sleep on this amazing resource, and be sure to show the folks working there the appreciation they deserve.

Kelsey Beyeler

Education Reporter, Nashville Scene


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