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Brentwood Library: A Center for the Fine Arts


Brentwood Library: A Center for the Fine Arts

Our library’s literally, figuratively the heart of the city
By SUSAN T. LEATHERS
Brentwood Home Page
It’s hard to name the best thing about living in Brentwood. But the Brentwood Library: A Center for the Fine Arts is definitely one of them. In 2009, the city completed a $3.9 million expansion of the library located at the corner of Concord and Knox Valley roads, almost exactly at Brentwood’ center, which is appropriate given that it is central to the lives of so many who live here.

By SUSAN T. LEATHERS
Brentwood Home Page
It’s hard to name the best thing about living in Brentwood. But the Brentwood Library: A Center for the Fine Arts is definitely one of them.

In 2009, the city completed a $3.9 million expansion of the library located at the corner of Concord and Knox Valley roads, almost exactly at Brentwood’ center, which is appropriate given that it is central to the lives of so many who live here.

When the current library building was opened in 1998, it marked the library’s third location. In 1983 the city bought the Buchanan House on Franklin Road which is now part of the Brentwood United Methodist Church campus. In 1987, a new library was built on Maryland Way, adjacent to what is now Maryland Way Park.

With its latest expansion and renovation, the current library’s footprint grew by about a third. Added were a new children’s wing, a new multi-media room, teen area, a large conference room and multiple small-group meeting rooms, new study desks and plenty of places to plug in a laptop.

With more space came more programs and events for art, photography and writing. And any Brentwood resident who needs a space for a meeting, event or gathering, now can reserve one for free. Students can use the new five study rooms, each holding six to eight people, to collaborate on group projects as part of the new teen center.

Move over Disney
The Children’s Library draws the most oohs and aaahs from visitors and not just from the 5-and-under set. The entire area has a park-like setting created with the help of local artist Cindy Billingsley and “imagineers” of Artisan Industry, LLC.

The area features trees, statues that talk and a unique entry for those small enough to go through it.  A huge stained glass piece by Dennis Harmon of Emmanuel Studio, Inc. in Nashville serves as the backdrop to the Story Room, which children pack for story times and other special presentations.

An extensive Summer Reading Program draws thousands of young readers to the library each summer. The library also hosts the city’s annual Easter Egg Hunt each spring and Breakfast with Santa each December.

Historian’s wish comes true
Brentwood’s history is showcased in the T. Vance Little Room, named in recognition of Brentwood’s late city historian. The room contains a book collection and furniture from the Little family, one of Williamson County’s oldest. The quiet workspace is also a favorite haunt of local authors, including Lisa Patton, author of the best-selling Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter.

Brentwood Library patrons have access to some of the best services available. Anyone with a Brentwood library card can borrow any of the materials within the library, as well as download audiobooks and e-books for free. Library cards are free for Brentwood residents. Those who live outside the city limits pay a fee.

One service growing in popularity is the ability to download an entire e-book and transfer it to a wireless reading device or mp3 player. The online resources of the Brentwood Library are expansive, including a large number of databases and private resources, which contain everything from standardized test preparation to business data to genealogy resources.

About 1,000 visitors per day use the library who all kinds of reasons. For some community and social groups, it’s a meeting hub. For example, Chicks with Sticks meet there regularly to knit and crochet. There are beginners Spanish classes, computer classes and book clubs.

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