As a department of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Nashville Public Library depends on public funding to support operations, staffing, maintenance and collections. Given the growth and increasing diversity of Nashville’s population, as well as the evolving needs presented by the pandemic, it is critical that our library receives the public funding needed to keep Nashville’s growth equitable and literacy and learning available to all.
Nashville Public Library’s Top 2 Budget Priorities for 2022
1.Ensure $4M for collections (books and materials). Books and materials are the products customers expect from the library. The library cannot meet community needs or strategically develop the collection without an increase to collection funding.
- NPL receives an average of $1.5M less per year for collections than urban libraries serving similar populations. In the past five years, in comparison to other libraries, this has put our collections at a deficit of $7-12M.
- The demand for e-books has increased over 26% this past year. Libraries pay three-to-five times more than retail price for eBook access. If an individual is charged $15 for an eBook license, a library often pays $50 or even $84 for one license.
- Print materials have continued to be in high demand. From January – March 2021, the thirteen (13) library locations offering curbside services were visited 94,000 times, with staff carrying out 249,895 books & materials. Click here for a breakdown of curbside services by branch.
2. Increase the budget to hire eleven (11) additional staff needed to continue pandemic-era curbside pickup and digital programming once libraries resume in-person services. NPL must continue to build off of their innovative online and in-person solutions to stay accessible and meet citizen’s evolving needs “post-pandemic.”
- Meeting the budget request to add ten (10) staff will maintain curbside services at four (4) branches: Bellevue, Bordeaux, Green Hills and Edmonson Pike.
- Without this budget increase, ALL curbside services will be terminated as locations reopen.
- Meeting the budget request to add one (1) staff will maintain virtual programming through NPL Universe. Program “attendance” online is running very high for both live and recorded viewing, expanding NPL’s program reach far beyond Davidson County.
- Virtual library programming through NPL Universe (i.e. Story Time, Studio NPL teen workshops, health, and exercise classes) will be equally limited and in many cases eliminated without additional staffing.
How to Advocate for NPL
• Contact your district council member to let them know how much NPL means to you and your community. Encourage them to meet NPL’s funding needs by investing $4M in collections and adding eleven (11) additional library staff to keep our library’s collections and programs growing to meet the ever-changing needs of neighborhoods across Nashville and Davidson County. Click here for a list of council members and the library branches in their district.
• Use the library. Take advantage of the thousands of e-books, audiobooks, streaming platforms and databases available online. Don’t have a card? Click here to get one.
A Day in the Life at NPL - A behind-the-scenes look at NPL staff serving communities while branches were "closed" to the public
Overview of NPL Services During the Pandemic
On March 17, 2020 Nashville Public Library closed its doors to the public in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Even with doors closed, NPL remained open and in-service to the public from day one through the checkout of e-materials, virtual program viewing and telephone access to librarians for information and referrals to services.
By June, eight NPL locations were offering curbside services – books and materials, staff recommended book bundles, story time craft kits, seed packs, and voter registration and tax forms. In the following months, five branches were added bringing the total number to 13 library locations offering curbside services, with the seven regional branches also offering mobile printing. Starting in November, patrons could make reservations to access computers in four regional branch libraries and Main.
Within weeks of closing, NPL began responding to demands by increasing digital collections and uploading additional virtual programs for viewing on their YouTube page. Shortly afterwards, virtual appointments with librarians became available to help with job seeking, resume building, computer instruction, homework and more. NPL created NPL Universe, offering live stream and pre-recorded programs through Facebook and YouTube.
The growth of innovative online solutions to meet citizens’ needs has not stopped.
These pandemic-era services are staff-intensive to maintain and in high demand from patrons. It takes all 150 branch division staff working in clusters at the 13 locations to meet the demands of curbside services, mobile printing, public computer access and virtual appointments and programming.
Fast forward one year later to March 31, 2021, with NPL reopening Main, Southeast and Madison branches to the public. On April 14, Bellevue and Bordeaux followed. By mid-summer, assuming safety protocols do not change, the remaining 16 branches will be open for service.
As branches reopen, curbside services will close and online programming will become more limited. That’s why we need you to act now by contacting your Metro District Council Member.