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5. Nashville Public Library

Press Contact: Pam Reese, 615-862-5820

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Nancy McClellan, Community Member; Donna Nicely, Director; and Mrs. Obama.
Pictured: Nancy McClellan, Community Member; Donna Nicely, Director; and Mrs. Obama. Click image to access high-resolution version.

The Nashville Public Library is a leader in efforts to continually improve and enrich its city. The library connects with the Nashville community through outreach and public programming that is educational and fun. The 264,958 active cardholders accurately mirror (based upon voluntary demographics gathering) the community’s diversity.
For at-risk children, the library uses its vast collection of marionettes to present the program Bringing Books to Life at local Head Start centers. Children are treated to a marionette-performed story time, and teachers and parents witness how information is retained when there is engagement and visual stimulation.

All sixteen public high schools in Nashville are also getting a boost from the library via the Limitless Libraries program. Limitless Libraries connects school libraries with the Nashville Public Library to create a system for interlibrary loans, helping them meet state standards.

Through its work to improve literacy and embrace diversity, the Nashville Public Library is a partner capable of bringing significant change and good to its beloved community.

U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (TN-05) "Nashville deserves a great library and this award is proof we’ve got the best in the country. (Director) Donna Nicely and her team deserve tremendous credit for leading our library through tough times without compromising excellence. I am proud to have the only congressional office in America located in a public library, so our rent helps keep our library strong."

Congressman Cooper was the nominator for this award.

Community Member Nancy McClellan
Literacy coach adopts library methods

The Nashville Public Library transformed Nancy McClellan’s approach to teaching literacy skills to her young students when she adopted methods from the library’s Bringing Books to Life! program. Nancy is a literacy coach at the St. Mary Villa Child Development Center where she helps children achieve early childhood literacy skills and plans family workshops on reading readiness. She embraced the library program’s whole-child approach to learning and uses the new methods to impact the lives of her students and families, many of whom are at risk.

Nancy is a gifted preschool literacy teacher and her participation in the library’s literacy program demonstrates the library’s tangible influence on teachers and so many children and families.