Fierce Compassion Episode 12. Image of Dr. Akómolàfè sitting with arms around bent knee.

Episode 21: Libraries Under Threat with Gavin Downing

In this episode of Fierce Compassion, we discuss threats to libraries and the liberative power of books with Gavin Downing, a dedicated educator and librarian. Downing is an inspired advocate for the capacity of books to offer inspiration and accompaniment to young people, especially those with marginalized identities. In this conversation, Downing shares his experience fighting book bans, emphasizing the critical need for intellectual freedom and diverse representation in school libraries. Join us as we learn how Downing has used tools of nonviolence and advocacy to ensure that every student can receive the gifts of affirmation, delight, and dignity found in books.

Episode 21: Libraries Under Threat with Gavin Downing

Fierce Compassion Podcast

About Gavin

Gavin Downing has been in education over 17 years, and a teacher-librarian for over 10. He successfully stopped an attempt to ban books in his school library in 2022, and has been recognized by both the Washington Library Association and the Washington Education Association for his work.


Follow Gavin online:


Mentioned in the episode:

Gavin’s Book Challenge response 

Federal Way Education Association

Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award, Seattle Times
LGBTQ+ Books Quietly Pulled From Washington State Middle School, Book Riot

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev AC Rosen
Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume
If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

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