Public School Library Renovated With Single Donation

A public high school in Nashville has opened the doors of a newly renovated library funded by a single donation. The $500 thousand gift represents something Mayor Karl Dean hopes becomes more commonplace.

Dean (left) and Ingram

For the library of a public high school, Hillwood’s is chic, in the vein of an Ikea showroom. It has blue and green walls, quiet glass workrooms for groups, and power outlets for charging laptops and iPads – even inside lockers.

The idea is if the library seems cool, students will want to spend time there. Senior Chloe Clark deems it a success:

“It’s awesome, and I don’t think anybody will want to go to class. They’ll just want to come in here and read and hang out and do their homework, stuff like that.”

John Ingram is the CEO of the book company bearing his name. Ingram says he chose Hillwood because he grew up in the neighborhood, although he went to school elsewhere. Ingram and his wife have also put up another half a million dollars to overhaul a second library in Metro, likely a middle school next summer.

Mayor Dean pushed back when asked whether such big project donations could expose public officials to too much outside influence. Dean said he valued Ingram’s opinion before the contribution as well as after, and that it was a “totally good thing” for students at Hillwood. And Dean says he wants the city to draw in similar donations to help fund such projects.

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