A New Library At An Old School In Antioch, With A Broader Mission For More Patrons

Ingram at the ribbon-cutting for Hillwood High's renovated library last year. (File photo, WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Ingram at the ribbon-cutting for Hillwood High’s renovated library last year. (File photo, WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Another library at a Metro Nashville school is getting a $500 thousand overhaul with help from John Ingram, CEO of the book company by the same name.  The idea is simple – make the library at Wright Middle in Antioch the coolest place in the school, and students will spend more time there and get more out of it.

John and Stephanie Ingram paid for a similar renovation at Hillwood High School last year – it added comfortable furniture, students selling refreshments, and chargers for electronics inside lockers.  Kent Oliver, Nashville’s library director, says since then circulation at Hillwood is up 75 percent.

“You know, it’s not just a forgotten space over in the corner of the school building that kids show up in when they have to do an assignment; it’s the place that they gravitate to.”

In the case of Wright Middle, the library moved downstairs so it can have its own door and stay open after hours as a community library.  In that role it will offer courses in reading and English.  Principal Jud Haynie says Spanish and maybe Kurdish will also be available, for teachers who want to better communicate with parents in surrounding Antioch.

Haynie says modernizing the library is part of a broader push in Metro toward “community schools,” which aim to help with broader challenges outside the classroom, like parents trying to earn GEDs.  To that end he’s adding a social worker in lieu of an assistant principal.  And dental care will be available to each of Wright Middle’s students in the next few months through Interfaith Dental.

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