Nashville Public Library Harnesses the power of learning and discovery

Nashville Public Library
Nashville, TN

As a central hub for activity and learning, available to everyone, libraries can help bring a sense of belonging and opportunity to a city. One example is the Nashville Public Library in Nashville, TN, where more than 350,000 residents hold a local library card. The Nashville Public Library, with 20 branches across the city, aims to engage the community by inspiring reading, advancing learning and connecting residents through educational programs and access to resources. From children’s story time and 3-D printing programs to cooking classes and a photography studio, the Nashville Public Library brings the power of creativity and learning to Nashville residents of all ages.

Nashville Public Library was named a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder® in 2004. As an award recipient, the library received $200,000 in flexible grant funding, and leadership development and training for its executive director and an emerging leader in the organization. The flexible funding allowed the library to continue its impactful programs for future generations and to reach a previously unengaged demographic in Nashville: teens.

“The Neighborhood Builders award gave us the power to change the culture of this institution, and empower young people to be the best that they can be,” explains Elyse Adler, Assistant Director, Community Engagement and Education at Nashville Public Library. With the flexible funding available through the Neighborhood Builders program, the library hired five teenage employees to create teen-centric programming at the library, now known as Studio NPL. These days, teen representatives in the program participate in community outreach to their peers by sharing what programs the library has available, from job training and development to homework help and robot-building workshops.

In addition to Studio NPL, the library offers programs for everyone, from Nashville’s youngest residents (including children’s puppet shows and a mini rock wall) to adults looking for continuing education programs, health and financial literacy classes, and more. “We give something to the community that no one else can provide, and that’s free services and resources,” says Katia Montal, Administrative Services at Nashville Public Library. Complemented by the millions of books, e-books, DVDs, audiobooks and other resources that the library offers, Nashville Public Library is driving home the idea that though a library card is free, its value is priceless.

Since 2004, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program has helped advance sustainable communities by investing more than $220 million in 49 communities — partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders and counting.

Learn more about how the Neighborhood Builders program helps nonprofit partners advance economic mobility and supports skills development for nonprofit leaders, powering nonprofits like the Nashville Public Library to build thriving communities.


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