Monday, May 30, 2011

A New Name? "The Nashville Public Library Says It All"

Gail Kerr: We the people celebrate Nashville Public Library.. (Nashville Tennessean. 5/30/2011)

Excerpt: There’s been some cocktail party chatter around town about whether, since it is the anniversary, they should put someone’s name on the building. In particular, whether the downtown Nashville Public Library should be named after former Gov. and Mayor Phil Bredesen.

Nothing solid has been proposed. No legislation is being drafted. (And it’s not coming from him — this is definitely not Bredesen’s kind of thing). But it’s the kind of thing someone will run with if it’s not dealt with upfront.

The beautiful, modern classical 300,000-square-foot building was, after all, his baby. Bredesen saw what was a mostly shuttered downtown mall — the badly conceived Church Street Center — and envisioned scooping it out and filling it, instead, with a Grand Reading Room and fiction stacks.

“A city with a great library is a great city!” appeared on bumper stickers. Funds were raised and allocated. Art was commissioned.

The result is a place that feels welcome to everyone.

There are no metal detectors or the kind of boundaries society uses too often to separate humans from humans. Your income is not an issue, nor is where you lay your head at night. It is everyone’s building.

“The Nashville Public Library says it all,” said Donna Nicely, director, “and that’s how it should stay.”

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