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Serving Our Community, One Mind at a Time

October 24, 2018

At Nashville Public Library, we’re in the business of unlocking potential.

We know success begins with access to quality education experiences.

Nashville Public Library (NPL) is committed to education as a tool for empowering people to unlock their potential. Our investment in local education occurs every day as we provide quality classes, workshops, books, and resources at locations across Davidson County and online.

We know success begins with access to quality education experiences. 

For example, we know children must build early literacy skills in order to later be successful in school and beyond. 

We know the time students spend reading and learning after school and during the summer makes a significant difference in their lives.

We know meaningful learning can also occur outside the traditional classroom, as students build digital, artistic, and life skills.

And we know learning doesn’t have an expiration date: With the right support, resources, and inspiration, it happens at every stage of life.

Our city has wrapped its arms around NPL’s education mission. For example, partnerships are a cornerstone of our operations. We join forces and resources with organizations in every corner of Nashville, and we go outside Library halls and walls to take our resources to community sites across town.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Nashville Public Library Foundation and its generous donors and corporate sponsors, the Library can offer its resources at no cost to local families. These public-private partnerships help us reach further into every corner of our community and do more. 

Where will Nashville Public Library help take you?

Nurturing Young Bookworms: Bringing Books to Life!

We believe children will learn to read, and later read to learn, when they first read for fun.

Bringing Books to Life! (BBTL) is NPL’s early reading outreach program. The Library’s team of educators delivers Pre-K reading workshops for teachers, parents, caregivers, and families across Nashville, in both English and Spanish. 

Participants get supplies and tips for easy activities to incorporate early literacy behaviors—reading, singing, writing, talking, and playing—in their classrooms and homes. Teachers also get to see these tips in action through BBTL’s rollicking story times at childcare centers and preschools.

BBTL has a few “secret weapons” in its early literacy toolkit. They’re not metallic, pointy, or sharp, but instead, soft, fuzzy, and plush. 

Secret Weapon? Puppets. 

In 1938, Tom Tichenor introduced puppetry to the Library with his staging of Puss in Boots. Tichenor went on to earn national and international fame. He returned to the Library to retire, gifting 250 of his original, handmade marionettes to the Library. 

These characters of Tichenor’s now travel our city, riding in the Library’s Puppet Truck to provide a big, fantastic finale for BBTL’s work.

The Library’s professional puppeteers perform the same story children have been exploring in the classroom. As puppeteers bring this story “to life,” an early spark for books and reading is ignited.

“The Puppet Truck arrives a week after our story time and sets up right in our classroom, and we are transported to times and places that we could never visit on a school bus. It is magical. Most of Birdwell’s students don’t get to library story times very often, and the school can’t always afford library field trips."
“The best part for me every season is to watch the children’s faces as they laugh, sing, and anticipate what is coming next because they know the story so well by then … I’ve had many parents come back to me and tell me their child provided an ‘after-dinner puppet show’ at their house with the puppets they made … This is what learning is all about to me! My students’ confidence and their excitement is contagious, and we all catch it!”
—Stephanie Birdwell, Pre-K teacher at DuPont Elementary school.

Bringing Books to Life!  is made possible by the Blakney Foundation, Cal Turner Family Foundation, Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Willard R. and Frances J. Hendrix Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.
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Engaging Students After School: NAZA

The Nashville AfterZone Alliance (NAZA) funds programs that offer high quality after-school and summer activities at various schools and community-based locations around Nashville to support students’ interest and engagement in learning and building  important 21st-Century skills.

A partnership of Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), the Mayor’s Office, and Nashville Public Library, NAZA ensures middle and high school students have a safe, supportive and creative environment to learn, engage in activities based on their interests, and build meaningful and positive relationships with peers and adults.

“NAZA strives to create a non-formal learning environment that gives children and youth choice, an opportunity to participate and to develop vital fundamental skills, such as communication, sense of purpose, sense of belonging, care for others, being a part of the team,”
—Anna Harutyunyan, NAZA Coordinator

A typical NAZA-funded after-school program day includes a snack, academic time (such as book club, STEM, or writing activities) and homework help. It also includes enrichment activities like dance, visual art, pottery, step, acting workshops, spoken word, and sports.

NAZA Summer Zone

Meanwhile, NAZA Summer Zone gives high school students a six-week opportunity to engage in paid experience-learning programs. High school summer programs are delivered in partnership with Academies of Nashville and Opportunity NOW and are focused on building hard and soft skills from marketing to coding and design, from teamwork to perseverance, problem solving and financial literacy. 

The Nashville AfterZone Alliance is a strategic partnership between the Nashville Public Library; Metro Government of Nashville, the main funder; and Metro Nashville Public Schools, an in-kind contributor. Additional  funding support is provided by the Joe C. Davis Foundation, Economic Club of Nashville, First Tennessee Foundation, Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund, Mott Foundation (through TN Afterschool Network), Scarlett Family Foundation, James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.

Learn More:

Building Tomorrow’s Leaders: Studio NPL

Teens can explore their interests and passions and discover talents in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) at Studio NPL, the library’s makerspace NPL designed specifically with teens in mind.

“From academically-driven patrons to those struggling with grades, Studio NPL is designed to provide enriching activities for all. Everything in our spaces, even the most technically advanced, professional-level equipment, is meant to be touched and experimented with. At its heart, Studio NPL programming encourages full and passionate participation from Nashville’s teen population as they explore their talents and discover new opportunities to engage with each other, their communities, and their world,”
—Niq Tognoni, Studio NPL Coordinator

Budding inventors, musicians, podcasters, and artists can blossom while working with specialized production equipment and technology, including a 3D printer, paper circuits, e-textiles, soldering, robotics, and more. 

Local professionals from the industries of science, technology, engineering, art, and math serve as adult mentors in these environments. They support students in eight Studios – including a 2,500-square-foot flagship Studio at the Main Library and a traveling, mobile Studio.

Studio NPL  is made possible by the Bank of America Foundation; Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, & Canon; Country Music Association Foundation; Dugas Family Foundation; Jackson National Life Insurance Company; Memorial Foundation; T.W. Frierson Contractor, Inc.; UBS; and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.
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Making Libraries The Coolest Place In School: Limitless Libraries

Limitless Libraries is the groundbreaking partnership between NPL and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) whose goal is to improve student success by enhancing school libraries; sharing resources; and providing access to quality books, online resources, and other learning materials.

Using their school IDs as their public library cards, students and teachers order NPL materials from their school libraries. Nashville Public Library and Metro Schools deliver their orders to every Metro school, every weekday.

The Library also brings technologies to school libraries, including hundreds of checkout laptops for homework, iPads, 3Doodlers, and 3D printers.

Limitless Libraries is made possible by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.

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Opening Doors to Lifelong Learning: Adult Education at NPL

The Library’s adult education efforts cover a wide spectrum of literacy topics. Nashville’s lifelong learners visit their Library to learn how to read—for the first time, to read more, or to read better. 

They come to use public computers and Wi-Fi, to build their online skills, and take technology classes. At NPL, learners can become stronger English speakers and study U.S. civics. They turn to NPL to become more health literate and more financially literate.

Adult education initiatives at NPL are made possible by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, HCA Foundation, SunTrust Foundation, and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.

Learn More: