Donna Nicely, the veteran director of the Nashville Public Library, will retire from her position effective Nov. 1.
Nicely, who has been with the library since 1995, stressed she will not pursue a conventional job, instead focusing on her various volunteer and board work.
"I feel so good about where the library is now that I can see it’s time professionally and personally to move on to other opportunities," Nicely said.
The Library Board of Trustees will undertake a national search to find a replacement, according to Mayor Karl Dean, who announced Nicely’s retirement Monday.
“During her 16-year tenure, Donna has taken our public library from average to exceptional,” Dean said in a release. “We have one of the best public libraries in the country, and with Donna’s strong leadership and expertise, we are bringing that same quality to our school libraries and transforming them into the centers for research and reading that our children deserve.”
Nicely’s planned retirement follows the library winning the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Services, the highest honor awarded to American libraries. Nicely visited the White House in December to receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Nicely is involved in many leadership positions in the Nashville community, including the boards of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Downtown Partnership, Country Music Foundation, and Nashville’s Agenda Steering Committee. She served on the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board, and was chair from 2004 to 2005.
In July 2009, she was presented the Public Library Association’s Charlie Robinson Award.