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The History of The Brentwood Library

The History of The Brentwood Library

The John P. Holt Brentwood Library has been a staple in the Williamson County community since its inception. While we all appreciate the useful books, technology, and outreach it offers, many don’t know the history of how our library came to be. Keep reading to find out more about this beloved landmark!

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The Williamson County Public Library 

In the 1920s, the American Legion Auxiliary placed some books that they had received as gifts in a vacant room in the Masonic Hall. This room was called “The American Legion Library” and was open for a few hours every week. This was the first effort to establish a public library in Williamson County, Tennessee. 

In 1936, the Business and Professional Women’s Club raised enough money to open a temporary public library. The community turnout was enough for the county to create the Williamson County Public Library, its first permanent public library, in 1937. 

Although this was a big win for Franklin residents, the commute for Brentwood dwellers was inconvenient. In order to support their community, a few privately owned Brentwood businesses initiated their own little libraries. In the 1950s, Dr. Barker’s Drug Store was a popular stop for books. Dr. Barker had set up a 3-shelf bookcase, allowing the public to borrow and return whatever books they wanted! 

Another private business that provided Brentwood, Tennessee residents with books was The Brentwood Cleaners. This local business partnered with the Blue Grass Regional Library to offer three bookshelves in their store, maintained by the library system. The need for a more accessible public library was apparent, as they tracked 540 books borrowed in the first year. The Brentwood Cleaners kept the bookshelves until 2001. 


The Williamson County Brentwood Library 

In 1976, the first permanent library was established in Brentwood. The Williamson County Brentwood Library was small, but it gave the Brentwood community somewhere to find books and use filmstrips.

Eventually, the library acquired the Buchanan House from the city in 1979 and the Brentwood Library grew from 950 square feet to 2,400! The new space allowed the library to hold more books, a reference area, and community activities! The library’s first summer saw 42 kids read 25 books in order to receive a gift card for an ice cream cone, with the top reader reading 196 books! 

By 1987, the city of Brentwood took over the library and expanded the facility into a new two-story building donated by Maryland Farms. This new facility offered the Brentwood community a computer, VCR tapes, records, art, and, of course, books! 

As Brentwood grew, the community needed an even bigger library. The Brentwood Library finally found a home in the middle of town at 8109 Concord Road in 1998. Once construction commenced, however, the workers stumbled upon a bit of history. While digging out the parking lot, a grave was uncovered that led to the discovery of remnants from a Mississippian tribal village dating back to the 1200s. The tribe’s artifacts and graves were recovered and preserved before completing the library. 

Within four years, The Brentwood Library saw over a million patrons. The library gained even more traction within the community as it started lending out more books, technology, instruments, telescopes, and even wifi! 


The John P. Holt Brentwood Library 

In 2017, The Brentwood Library changed its name to the John P. Holt Brentwood Library due to a generous donation from the Holt family to enhance the facility. With 55,000 square feet of knowledge, activities, and unique construction, the John P. Holt Brentwood Library became one of the most influential buildings in the city. 

The John P. Holt Brentwood Library continues to be a staple in the Williamson County community and offers a variety of books, technology, instruments, weekly activities, and more! Make sure to visit this local gem and get your own library card! 


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