Nashville Public Library Foundation
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615 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37219
Organization Details



Nashville Public Library Foundation funds, advocates, and amplifies NPL to power literacy, life skills, and connection for all.


Founded in 1997 as a 501(c) 3 organization, Nashville Public Library Foundation has raised over $68 million to advance the impact and reach of NPL programs and initiatives. With the investment of NPLF's committed funders, the Foundation provides the financial support required to deliver the quality programming and services that sets it apart from other library systems throughout the country.

As a department of Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Nashville Public Library depends on public funding to support operations and maintenance; however, it thrives because of private investment through the Nashville Public Library Foundation. A proud recipient of the 2017 Library of the Year Award, NPL has pushed the definition of what a library can be. Last year, nearly two million members of our community came together at puppet shows, after-school programs, civil rights workshops and immigration classes. Every year, nearly seven million items are circulated amongst our 21 branches and throughout every Metro school library.

The Library inspires reading, advances learning, and connects our community through a broad range of programs, services, and collections. Through culturally diverse programs and centers, and an openness and hospitality that welcomes everyone, NPL takes special care to meet the needs of people who are marginalized, struggling, and new to the community and our country.


Nashville Public Library (NPL) is a trusted civic institution in Nashville and Davidson County, TN. Sustained by a passionate commitment to realize its mission of inspiring reading, advancing learning, and connecting community, NPL empowers patrons through limitless learning opportunities that enrich lives.

The Nashville Public Library Foundation invests about $2.2 million each year to fund programs that enhance and promote the library's mission. These NPLF-funded programs empower our community, ignite children's imaginations, and foster lifelong learning throughout Nashville. Thanks to private donations, sponsorships, and partnerships, we are able to provide our neighborhoods with vital opportunities at no cost to participants, cultivating a better future for everyone.

NPL believes that education and literacy, the institution's main service areas, act as the great equalizers in the community. In 2022, NPL's education and literacy programs directly served more than 102,198 attendees through more than 3,985 specialized programs.

All NPL education and literacy programs and services track measurable outcomes based on research of best practices surrounding the specified service areas for each section of the population reached. For example, from our Bringing Books to Life 85% of teachers report using the NPL as a resource for school curriculum and 85% of teachers report observing an increase in their students' literacy skills. Studio NPL had the following results 72% report understanding of how academics and programming intersect, 90% report growth in soft/life skills, and 100% report finding Studio valuable.

NPL programs rely on trusted relationships with its partner agencies throughout the community to deeply engage patrons and meet them where they-geographically, economically, culturally. Research shows that the most critical piece of impactful service revolves around relationships. From connecting patrons to physical and digital collections and other resources to providing direct service through educational and literacy-focused instruction, NPL is proud to partner with hundreds of educational, cultural, non-profit, government agencies and organizations.

Through culturally diverse programs and locations, NPL operates with a hospitality that truly welcomes everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, ability, or socioeconomic status. Because of public & private support, buildings, and outreach NPL is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of people who are marginalized, struggling, and/or new to the community or our country. NPL truly serves ALL.


Two in three Nashville third-graders cannot read on grade level. NPLF is providing funding the following award-winning early literacy programs to combat these challenges:

Bringing Books to Life is an award-winning early literacy program that works with young children, teachers and parents to both educate and promote the importance of early literacy skills. Developed in partnership with early childhood educators and experts in the field of early childhood development, BBTL is centered on NPL's literature-based puppet performances. NPL is the only agency providing ongoing large-scale literacy workshops free of charge to Nashville families in need prioritizing service to at-risk communities where poverty rates are higher, literacy rates are lower, and educational experience is traditionally limited for adults.

Limitless Libraries (LL) provides over 86,000 Metro Nashville Public School students and teachers access to NPL's 2 million+ items. A shared catalog and school IDs that double as NPL cards provide access to to NPL resources and delivery of these resources to the schools.

CEO Statement

The lintel above the doors to the earliest known library - that of Pharaoh Ramses II -bore an inscription. In English, it translates to "the house of healing for the soul". Centuries later, this sentiment still rings true. I cannot think of a more fitting description for our beloved Nashville Public Library. Over the past year, the Nashville Public Library Foundation has proudly raised funds that facilitated programming to support our own community's "house of healing for the soul". In November, we hosted our annual Literary Award Gala to honor Colson Whitehead and
his contributions to literature. Spring was filled with fun events - our Next Chapter Society hosted String City with a live performance by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. We welcomed children and their families to our downtown branch for our first in-person Picnic at the Library since the pandemic began. In May, the Carnegie Society gathered for its annual book club to hear an incredible panel discussion of the book Sparks like Stars. To support NPL's response to threats against intellectual freedom, NPLF created and sold t-shirts that promoted and supported the Freedom to Read campaign. Perhaps most prominently, NPLF took the lead in advocating for city leaders to increase funding to ensure that our libraries are safe, welcoming, and enriching spaces designed to meet our community's specific needs. Specifically, this led to all libraries being open on Fridays and increasing capacity to ensure that more youth have a safe and enriching gathering place when they are not in school. NPL is concluding a strategic visioning process that will further identify its priorities to make the greatest impact in our rapidly evolving city. As that process comes to a close, the NPLF will align its efforts to fund these priorities. We look forward to the fruits of this collaboration and will share more with you soon. None of what we have done would have been possible without the generous support of our community patrons. I am continually grateful for your support and the work of Nashville Public Library. Thank you for helping to fund an institution that has long nourished my own soul and the souls of so many in our community.

Board Chair Statement

The Nashville Public Library is impacting Nashville citizens every day. Thanks to private gifts through the Nashville Public Library Foundation, the Main Library and its 21 branches are community gathering places for children, teens and adults. Support through the Foundation is getting kids excited about reading and ready to learn in school, helping teens discover new talents and gain confidence, and putting seniors and new Americans on the path to success. I am inspired by the Nashvillians whose lives we have touched this year and by the donors that support this extraordinary institution. Thank you to all who are friends of the Nashville Public Library Foundation and a champion of literacy and learning for all of Nashville.

Service Categories

Primary Category: Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations  - Single Organization Support 
Secondary Category: Education  - Libraries 
Tertiary Category: -

Areas Served

Nashville, Davidson County// Middle TN

TN - Davidson