Join Us in Nashville

Celebrate learning and library values at PLA 2020 in Nashville

In 2011, the Public Library Association (PLA) selected Nashville, Tennessee as the host site for its 2020 Conference. We know no meeting site is immune from political actions or legislation contrary to our values and some Tennessee laws do not align with PLA’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EDISJ) or the core values of librarianship. Recognizing this, we have made a commitment to use our presence in 2020 to educate and inspire. Read more from our Statement on Core Values and Conference Sites.

PLA Board of Directors in Nashville, TNPLA 2020 will provide outstanding educational experiences for everyone and serve to raise awareness through new and innovative learning opportunities. PLA leadership began exploring how we might achieve our goals last fall when the PLA Board participated in an insight immersion experience in Nashville focused on equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice. The idea for the experience grew from our decision to meet in Nashville and the EDISJ goals of PLA’s strategic plan.

The purpose of the insight immersion was to begin to gather input on how to use our conference to educate and inspire action.

Nashville’s rich network of community inclusion

Following is a list of the organizations in and around Nashville that the PLA Board visited and the PLA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice has identified. We encourage conference attendees to learn about and support these vital organizations

Conexión AméricasConexión Américas mission is to build a welcoming community and create opportunities where Latino families can belong, contribute and succeed.

American Muslim Advisory Council’s mission is to empower Muslims across Tennessee through civic engagement, community building and media relations in order to protect all Tennesseans from prejudice and targeted violence.

Thistle FarmsThistle Farms is a nonprofit social enterprise, based in Nashville, TN, dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction.

The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state.

Crossroads CampusCrossroads Campus works to help neglected animals and homeless people with the aim of putting the healing power of the human-animal bond to work.

The Nashville Technology Council exists to be a catalyst for the growth and influence of Middle Tennessee’s technology industry.

Humphreys StreetHumphreys Street was born out of a desire to raise up leaders within their neighborhood by creating jobs, providing mentorship opportunities, and teaching job skills that empower youth such as customer service, marketing, and craftsmanship.

People3 is a benefit corporation that provides diversity and inclusion training, workshops, and inclusion-centered consulting. They work with private, non-profit, and government sectors to facilitate inclusion.

Oasis CenterOasis Center provides a wide range of opportunities that reflect the diverse needs of youth and their families, such as crisis intervention, youth leadership and community engagement, and college and career access.

Branded Collective exists to empower survivors of human trafficking through meaningful work and economic independence.

Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights RoomNashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room details the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville. The collection includes more than 100 oral histories as well as photographs, documents, periodicals, ephemera, records and manuscripts.

Soles4Souls creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

Southern WordSouthern Word offers creative solutions for youth to build literacy and presentation skills, reconnect to their education and lives, and act as leaders in the improvement of their communities through the literary and performing arts.

The Native American Indian Association of Tennessee helps to decrease illiteracy, expand job opportunities and promote better employment, increase knowledge and awareness of Indian culture, and improve services for daycare, housing, health, social services, and nutrition for low-income Indian people.

The Highlander Center is the nation’s preeminent social justice training center, developing grassroots leaders and creating strong, democratic organizations that broaden movements for social, economic, and restorative environmental change.

Nashville offers this and so much more

The organizations the PLA Board and staff visited just skim the surface of all Nashville has to offer. Here are just a few more opportunities:

  • Support businesses that belong to the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, including these restaurants and these entertainment venues.
  • Visit the Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, which served as a meeting site for numerous civil rights efforts. In 1958, James Lawson hosted workshops on nonviolent protests at the church, and in 1961 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the annual meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference there.
  • Eat at the Woolworth on 5th Restaurant, the site of some of the first lunch counter sit-in protests of the 1960s in Nashville.
  • See the Davidson County Courthouse where, in 1960, Nashville Mayor Ben West was confronted by protesters and conceded that segregation was immoral. There you’ll find the Witness Walls, an outdoor art installation featuring images from the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville.
  • More to come!

PLA 2020 will be an inclusive convening that highlights innovative work and ideas that address the challenges facing public libraries and their communities today. We look forward to seeing you there. Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas: email us at