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The Problem

In the modern economy, access to ongoing information and training is critical to success. Nashville Public Library invests in its patrons at all stages in their lives, offering essential programs and resources that directly impact educational attainment, employment rates, self-sufficiency, financial literacy, and community participation. Research shows that investments in social infrastructure like education and after school programs boosts school success, reduces crime, and builds capacity for a higher quality of life.

Library Solutions funded by NPLF

Studio NPL

Studio NPL is an innovative, technology driven learning environment for teens aged 12-18. Daily workshops are mentor-led and focus on building 21st century skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and digital literacy with the goal of readying middle and high school students for college, the workforce, and beyond. Studio NPL features eight brick and mortar branch locations as well as the Studio mobile unit which travels to library branches, schools, and nonprofits bringing services to youth who need them most. Last year, Studio NPL provided over 9,000 teens with resources and a nurturing environment to explore and engage their passions.


Nashville After Zone Alliance ( NAZA) is a public-private partnership that provides funding and capacity building to community partners to increase access to transformative learning experiences for youth during out-of-school time.  Currently, NAZA supports local partners at over 50 locations to provide more than 1,200 students with an opportunity to develop various skills, explore careers, receive academic and homework help, and practice leadership skills among other benefits. NAZA-funded programs provide opportunities for building positive peer relationships and receiving continuous mentorship by caring adults. Programs returned to full operations last year after Covid, and a $1.7 million budget increase from the Metro government this year allowed NAZA to increase the number of afterschool slots, increase transportation access to remove participation barriers, and sustainably fund summer programs for 1,100 students, the pilots of which were funded through private grants in past years. 

Digital Inclusion

Digital Inclusion refers to the work necessary to ensure that all communities, especially those with the most barriers to access, have the tools needed to thrive in our modern, internet-based society. This includes not only access to hardware, software, and the internet, but also the knowledge and support to effectively use those resources. Put more simply: digital divide is the problem. Digital equity is the goal. Digital inclusion is the pathway. 

Nashville Public Library is a central hub for this work, which is funded through a public-private partnership. To facilitate access to the knowledge necessary for life, work, and family in the internet age, NPL offers in person training to adults at branches, community centers, and partner organizations throughout the city. Seniors constitute one demographic group that is particularly engaged with these programs. 

Library staff travel to seniors’ homes and community centers, delivering services and resources to make them feel connected, valued, and empowered. NPL’s Digital Inclusion Initiative was one of the programs highlighted in the NPL Library of the Year Award, and since the program’s inception in 2017, it has served 1,500 to 2,000 seniors annually.  

As one participant reported, “During the pandemic, thanks to the wonderful people at NPL’s Digital Inclusion Program, I got an iPad and learned how to see and chat with my grandson.”  The benefits are immediate, and for some of Nashville’s seniors, life changing. 

General Collections

At the heart of every library lies its collection. As a place to encounter new ideas and perspectives, Nashville Public Library’s more than 2 million materials give countless opportunities to learn and grow. The Library has also invested beyond the traditional physical book to ensure that patrons have access to the latest movies, TV and music, alongside unique partnerships with Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the National Museum of African American Music to provide free entry for patrons with a special pass.