Friday, June 16th, the Northeast Tennessee People’s Movement welcomed visitors to the opening of its latest project, the Appalachian Liberation Library. Located in downtown Johnson City on W. Walnut Street, this free community lending library focuses on historic and current struggles for justice and liberation.
The collection features sections on Appalachia, labor history and organizing, social movements and social issues, political theory, and more, plus selected works of fiction, a section of children’s books, magazines, and a number of pamphlets on economic, environmental, and social justice.
The open house was well-attended. Visitors browsed the collection, signed up for free library cards, and enjoyed discussions on topics such as food justice, city planning, worker rights, and—of course—books. A representative from PFLAG brought a bag of LGBT-related book donations, and another patron arrived with an armful of back issues of The Nation.
Appalachian Liberation Library opened with just over 200 books in its collection, and they expect the collection to grow every month. Two areas they specifically need coverage for are accessible books—large print and audio (plus devices to listen to the audio books on)—and Spanish-language books, including texts for English-speaking Spanish learners and ESL; however, they’re happy to accept any donations. Books that don’t fit the collection’s needs will be found other homes (including potentially being sold to help pay rent on the space).
The library shares its space with the Workers Alliance of Northeast Tennessee, another Northeast TN People’s Movement project, as well as with the People’s Movement itself.