Searcy Elected First Black President of the Nashville Public Library

Joyce with book

Joyce Searcy, Belmont’s director of community relations, was elected president of the Nashville Public Library on April 20, 2021. Searcy will be the library’s first black president. She will serve with Vice President Katy Varney, partner with MP&F Strategic Communications, and Secretary Robert Oermann, music journalist and author.

Being named to this volunteer position is an important accomplishment for Searcy for several reasons. As a child, Searcy thought of the library as an elite club that children like her and her family could not join. Her parents refused to let their children enter a separate door in her hometown library in order to shield them from the deleterious and harmful effects of Jim Crow laws. Searcy said, “That is one of the reasons why I am so elated and honored to have been elected chair of the Nashville Public Library.”

“Our city’s nationally award-winning library is an unparalleled, educational resource with programs that expose children and their families not only to books, but to music, art, poetry, film making, health and technology,” Searcy continued. “NPL is everywhere in the city, with tentacle-like branches, ensuring access and equity for ALL and, as a result, raises the bar for Nashville. Libraries have the power to transport you to a world that is real or fantasy, to inform or to entertain. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”