PHOTOS: Metro Schools, Mayor Megan Barry and the Nashville Public Library encourage summer reading

Library-Press-Conference_070516_DSC_4209.jpg Metro Schools, the Mayor’s Office and the Nashville Public Library held a joint press conference Tuesday, July 5, addressing a shared commitment to boost literacy in Nashville. The conference took place in the Children’s reading area at the Downtown Public Library and was attended by Metro Schools’ staff, members of the Board of Education, local reading and education advocacy programs and various other community leaders.

Mayor Megan Barry, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, and Nashville Public Library Board Member Joyce Searcy delivered the messages and handed out books provided by Book’Em to children in attendance. Book’Em is a Nashville nonprofit committed to distributing tens of thousands of books each year to economically disadvantaged children.

In beginning his new position with Metro Schools, Dr. Joseph has shared the urgency he feels for addressing areas of need, but this time he specifically referred to urgency with literacy advocacy—especially during these critical summer months.

“We cannot put learning aside for two months by taking a break on reading,” Dr. Joseph said. “Reading is the foundation of all other learning, so we must take advantage of the tremendous educational resources available in Nashville to support our students.”

Mayor Megan Barry shares that same urgency, speaking on the importance of the dollars added to this year’s budget—specifically designated to support literacy efforts. The funds were added to the public libraries as well as to the reading programs in Metro Schools.

Dr. Joseph also called on families to make reading a priority at home so it becomes second nature to a child and for the community to rally around those efforts. He did not speak lightly about this call to action, referring to literacy as a top focus on the list of Metro Schools’ “great and complex” challenges. All speakers at the library event asked that the community come together in the spirit of collaboration to move the dialogue forward, including Metro teachers.

Since it was Dr. Joseph’s second official day of work, the event was Dr. Joseph and Mayor Barry’s first opportunity to lead a press conference side-by-side. Both look forward to working together and campaigning for public education. Mayor Barry’s last words hit on her hopes for the new director of schools

“I am thrilled to go on this adventure together,” Mayor Barry said speaking to Dr. Joseph, “If you are successful, our children are successful.”

Metro Schools has compiled a list of literacy resources for families, students and teachers on Below are two opportunities from NPL:

NPL Summer Challenge Students can sign up for the Summer Challenge to log reading hours over the summer to earn prizes. Each branch will draw for prizes like iPad minis and a trip to Dollywood. Mayor Barry has even offered up the chance to be Student Mayor for a Day.


Limitless Library Summer Reading Lists (K-12) Limitless Library is a resource sharing program created from a partnership between the Nashville Public Library and Metro Schools to improve student access to learning materials. The Limitless Library site has popular summer “must reads” and required school reading lists.

Read more about these programs and more extended learning resources at

See more photos from the news conference below: