Nashville Public Library wins Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award

Contact: Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

ALA Governance Office



For Immediate Release

March 9, 2009

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has named “Bringing Books to Life,” an outstanding program of the Nashville Public Library, the 2009 winner of the Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award. “Bringing Books to Life” brings literary education to the kids who need it most.

“Bringing Books to Life,” a preschool literacy initiative of the Nashville Public Library, is a perfect marriage of a resource to a need in the community. This free program brings the library’s award-winning literature-based puppet shows together with at-risk young children, their teachers and their families. The goal is to trigger imaginative learning through puppets, story times and all types of art forms, inspiring children to appreciate stories and books so that they will grow into lifelong readers. “Bringing Books to Life” takes a whole-child approach to learning, incorporating components for children, educators and parents. BBTL equips teachers with strategies for implementing developmentally appropriate practices in their classrooms, introduces children to literature and library resources,makes reading relevant to their everyday lives and gives caregivers and families the tools they need to read aloud effectively. The program grew out of NPL’s response to the needs of a rapidly growing, diverse population and its commitment to extend the benefits and joys of reading and lifelong learning through collections and services. It counts among its goals addressing school readiness as a national priority by providing early literacy intervention.

At the core of NPL’s mission is the commitment to extending the benefits and joys of reading, lifelong learning and discovery to all people through collections and services. The library system has consistently demonstrated strength in its children’s services, with its 70-year tradition of producing and performing literature-based marionette shows as just one example.

School readiness has long been a high priority for the Nashville community as well as for the nation as a whole, with the first five years of life as a critical period for determining a child’s future academic success. Research shows that children who start out at an economic disadvantage tend to remain disadvantaged when they do not have positive pre-K experiences. NPL maximizes the impact of the program by reaching out to community partners such as child care agencies and pre-K programs, as well as the mayor's office and local universities.

A well-developed interactive teacher training program, responsiveness to the partnering agencies’ needs and the families and creative use of the library’s resources ensure BBLT’s success despite the many challenges.ï€ The committee unanimously picked BBTL for its “creative and nontraditional way of meeting the local need for quality childhood education,” said Jacqueline Sasaki, award committee chair. “BBTL truly represents ‘a marriage between local needs and local strength’ and is to be congratulated.”

Members of the 2009 Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award Committee are: Jacqueline Ka-Yin Sasaki, chair, Ann Arbor District Library; Barbara A. Burd, PhD, Coastal Carolina University, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Dora T. Ho, Los Angeles Public Library; Michael M. Martinez, Reinhardt College, Waleska, Ga.; and Hellena Stokes, Houston Public Library.

The Cavendish Award will be presented on Tuesday, July, 14, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2010 Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award is Dec. 1. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA Web site: