Mayor Karl Dean, already the force behind a healthy-living campaign in Nashville, has found another social problem to tackle: reading and literacy.
Dean on Tuesday announced the creation of a new program dubbed “Share a Book,” billed as a “citywide focus on literacy.” The mayor’s newest campaign includes encouraging families to read to young children, promoting adult literacy and educating residents about the city’s public libraries, among other initiatives.
The hope is to chip way at some troubling statistics: Twelve percent of adults in Davidson County lack basic reading and comprehension skills and less than half of young children in Tennessee are read to daily, according to recent studies cited by the mayor’s office.
“Just like we have worked to make healthy living part of the Nashville culture, I want our city to focus on reading and literacy,” Dean said in a statement. “This is a social, educational and economic development issue.”
The “Share a Book” reading campaign officially begins May 19. From 1 to 4 p.m. that day, Nashvillians are encouraged to visit the downtown Nashville Public Library to donate a “gently used” book to donate to the program.
Those who drop off books, according to a mayor’s office press release, will have opportunities to meet Dean, obtain a library card (which, as always, are free to Davidson County residents), sign up for the library’s summer reading program, watch a puppet show, meet a mystery player from the Nashville Predators, register children for the Books from Birth program and meet “Ozzie,” the Nashville Sounds mascot.
Community partners in the “Share A Book” campaign include the Nashville Public Library, the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, Books from Birth of Middle Tennessee, Book ’Em and Ride for Reading.