History and Mission

The Nashville Public Library Foundation

Our History

When Andrew Carnegie helped Nashville establish four public libraries more than a century ago, books were the only story. Today, the Nashville Public Library (NPL) serves the community in ways and in numbers that Carnegie couldn’t have imagined. A proud recipient of the 2017 Library of the Year Award, more than 350,000 Nashville residents own a library card and visit the Library’s 21 branches nearly 4 million times per year. 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.

As a department of Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Library depends on public funding to support operations and maintenance; however, it thrives because of private investment. Founded in 1997 as a 501(c) 3 organization, Nashville Public Library Foundation has raised more than $50 million to advance the impact and reach of NPL programs and initiatives. These gifts allow the Library to encourage young minds to read, give teens a safe space to explore state-of-the-art technologies, and provide training and resources to adults and new Americans in need of support.

Our Mission

The Nashville Public Library Foundation (NPLF) is a committed community of leaders, learners and innovative achievers dedicated to supporting and empowering one of our city’s greatest resources – the Nashville Public Library.