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Have Stories, Will Travel

April 29, 2024

What tops the list of unusual challenges that a traveling children's librarian faces? Toy transport.

But, after 11 years as a children’s librarian, Cathy Strahan has toy transport locked down. Strahan now serves as a traveling children’s librarian in Nashville and has enough in her traveling toy chest to occupy even the most discerning toddler — we’re talking everything from your classic rabbit-in-a-hat puppet to magnetic blocks to purple plastic grapes.

These days, she totes her supplies around town as she visits NPL branch locations and childcare centers, leading story times for Nashville's youngest library audiences. Her position is a new addition to NPL — and an innovative solution to serving even more of Davidson County’s families. Four months into her new role, Cathy has offered more than 90 story time programs at locations throughout the city — places like Jewell’s Gems in North Nashville, Holly Street Daycare in East Nashville, and Southern Stars Montessori in Edgehill. And she’s been getting more requests from new places every day.

"This week, I visited a daycare for the first time. One of the children there was a toddler who regularly attended my weekly branch story time with his nanny," Cathy said. "As soon as he saw me, he smiled and started nodding his head in recognition. Freddy had stopped coming to story time once he started school in January, so I hadn't seen him in four months.

"Even at two years old, he remembered me and how to sign my hello and goodbye songs. I want to continue to build these types of relationships. Children who have fond memories of the library grow up to be engaged community members who support their library."

Thanks to Metro's investments in NPL, Cathy can go deeper into Nashville neighborhoods, meeting more families and introducing critical skills for early literacy. 

"I want children to feel connected to their library," she said. "Not everyone is going to visit the library for story time or an after-school program. We need to bring our programs to them, and while we're there, introduce them to what the library offers. I tell the children I meet, 'If you ever need an answer to a question, whether it's now or when you grow up, you can always go to the library, and they will help you find the true answer'."

We hope that every child in Nashville has the chance to feel that connection to the library. With librarians like Cathy doing the work, we get closer every day to making that hope a reality.

Cathy's Story Time Favorites



Katy is the Social Media Specialist for NPL’s Marketing and Communications Department. When she’s not too busy liking and sharing, she fills her time with hiking, playing tennis, and (of course!) reading.


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