Pat Patrick was recently elected president of the board of directors for the Middle Tennessee literacy organization Book’em. Patrick was the 1999 recipient of the National Reading Hero Award given by First Book and Random House.

Other officers elected include Vice President Alice Chapman (McNeely, Pigott & Fox), Secretary Tonya Horton (US Stamp & Sign Company), Treasurer Jessica Tatum (Deloiite & Touche LLP), and Assistant Treasurer Shane Merrill-Facio (Sun Trust Bank).

“I’m honored to be taking the reigns as president of the board of directors for an organization I care about so deeply,” explains Patrick. “2008 is a critical time for Book’em. My personal goals are to make the transition to a new executive director as seamless as possible and to bring energy to the board as a whole.

“The 2008 goals for Book’em were set forth at our recent board of directors’ retreat. We are committed to being a more active and involved board, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization, increasing visibility for and awareness of Book’em within the Middle Tennessee community, growing the Book’em staff and core programs, and expanding the organization’s budget through new and more effective fundraising. And, of course, distributing books and sharing the love of reading,” Patrick adds.

Patrick’s accomplishments in the literacy arena are long and varied. In addition to the National Reading Hero Award, Patrick was nominated for the Lucille Micheels Pannell Award given by the Women’s National Book Association in 1999. He also started and chaired First Book Local Advisory Boards in Nashville (1997) and Atlanta (1999).

While working with book companies Barnes & Noble, Borders and Davis-Kidd in a marketing capacity, he facilitated book drives that generated over 35,000 new books which were distributed to disadvantaged and at-risk children over an eleven year period.

He is currently serving his second stint as chairperson of Read Me Week, the largest and most visible literacy initiative in the state of Tennessee. An estimated 1,000 volunteer hours are utilized every year to make Read Me Week a success. Celebrity readers such as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn) have all participated in this event since 1989.

“Literacy has been an important cause for me throughout my life,” says Patrick. “I always remember being around books when I was growing up. My parents and particularly my grandmother—who got me hooked on The Wizard of Oz series—made sure there was a never-ending supply of reading material at my disposal. I can’t imagine my life, then or now, without books. I have been extremely fortunate. I remain involved in literacy efforts to try to assist those children who, for whatever reason, may not have books of there own. Books really do change lives.”

Patrick currently serves as Marketing Manager for Tennessee Repertory Theatre and writes for Inside Out Nashville in addition to his new role with Book’em. He is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Book’em is a not-for-profit children’s literacy organization which serves Middle Tennessee and focuses on two core areas: providing volunteer readers to local preschools, Head Start centers and elementary schools; and collecting and distributing new books to children in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own. The organization’s mission is to inspire the love of books and reading in all children, and it has distributed over 500,000 new books to children in the Middle Tennessee community since 1989.

For more information on Book’em, visit their Website at

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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