After more than a decade of planning, securing funds, and — finally — construction, Bellevue’s new branch library celebrated its official grand opening on Jan. 29 with an all-day celebration. On hand for the ribbon-cutting and public open house were many dignitaries, including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Bellevue Metro Council representatives Sheri Weiner, Rep. Bo Mitchell, and Charlie Tygard, Nashville Public Library Director Kent Oliver, and Bellevue Harpeth Chamber of Commerce President Jad Duncan. and many local community members excited to see the completed facility.
This new $10 million, 25,000-square-foot library on Baugh Road (behind Bellevue Middle Prep) is five times larger than the Collice Jean branch it replaced, and is a much-needed addition to the Bellevue community — creating public meeting spaces, a cafe, a large children’s area and performance room, and other civic amenities. In essence, the new library is set to become a central gathering area for the community.
In embracing its commitment to Bellevue, the facility includes an electronic history wall, created in large part due to the efforts the Bellevue History and Genealogy Group and longtime community historian Bob Allen. Art is also prevalent throughout the facility and grounds, including “Rise Above” by Bellevue artist Brenda Stein –hanging beautiful carving of wooden birds carved out from a hackberry tree that had to be cut down during construction.
Traditionally the Bellevue branch has been one of the busiest in the public library system, one of the main reasons Bellevue was in need of an upgrade. Now the additional space gives the Chamber a place for its board of directors to meet, or to host civic programs and networking events.
In her remarks at the grand opening ceremony, Weiner, a Chamber board member as well as Metro councilwoman, announced that “the timing (of the grand opening) could not be better. Bellevue is on a transformative trajectory,” she said. “Our new library will serve as a focal point for our current neighbors and those new to our community.”