About Chapter 16

by Robert Cheatham

Chapter 16 is a service of Humanities Tennessee, whose purpose is to provide education in the humanities to Tennesseans. The board and staff of Humanities Tennessee believe that such education strengthens community because discovering and learning about your local history, attending a public examination and discussion of issues that affect your life, and coming together to talk about books, authors, and ideas are all activities that bind you to your neighbors, that help create a rich local culture and a local community.

Chapter 16 is, in part, a response to our sense that local culture and local community have been diminished by the disappearance of locally generated reviews and coverage of books in Tennessee newspapers and other media. National news and reviews of books have never been more accessible, but they do not strengthen the daily relationships of writers and readers in their home towns and the intellectual life of the community the way content generated locally does. And much of local and regional interest is hardly covered by the national media at all, except with condescension.

Because it is on the Internet, Chapter 16 can provide much more available content about books than any newspaper could, and our hopes for the site are much grander than would be possible through print. With the help of the Tennessee Literary Project at MTSU, we shall be producing a routinely updated directory of Tennessee authors with far more information than any existing directory. We shall be announcing the publication of every significant book about Tennessee or by a Tennessean, and we shall be reviewing as many as we can. We shall also be producing features about what Tennesseans are reading and, ultimately, hope to generate a lot of useful user content, particularly from Tennesseans, about lives lived with books. We'll be providing features about local book clubs, and maybe providing a few pictures of local bookcases. Since much of the point of Chapter 16 to get you to turn off the computer and engage yourself in the intellectual life of your community, we shall maintain, with the help of many partners, a calendar of book-related events in Tennessee, and we will be reviewing books of visiting authors, or providing interviews or profiles, whether or not they have any other Tennessee connection. We'll also provide a directory of Tennessee bookstores in hopes of invigorating the intellectual excitement of browsing among the real things. We're open to your ideas, of course, for making Chapter 16 what we hope it will become, a community of Tennessee writers, readers and passersby.

—Robert Cheatham, President
Humanities Tennessee

If you want to know more about Humanities Tennessee, visit www.humanitiestennessee.org.

If you want to ask questions or make suggestions, go to Contact Us.

Chapter 16 is the virtual Tennessee Center for the Book, an independent affiliate of the Library of Congress's National Center for the Book.

Humanities Tennessee is an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Published Thursday, 30 July 2009