Back Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years

August 22nd, 2011

Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years
Brentwood Baptist Library celebrates 40 years

You may have noticed it as you walked by. At some point, you may have even stuck your head in the door to check things out or picked up a sermon series you intended giving to a friend. Then again, maybe you’ve only seen the books from the outside window.

It’s a little gem, tucked away just outside the main sanctuary. No, not by the Parlor. It’s on the other side. It’s the Doris T. Aderholt Library.

When I first called Doris, she was on her way to be with her friend Betty, who was going through a death in her family. It wasn’t until I sat down and talked with her that I realized that Doris and Betty had been friends for more than 40 years.

Doris and her husband moved to Nashville in 1959 so that her husband could work with the Baptist Sunday School Board, known as Lifeway today. In the fall of 1969, they joined Brentwood Baptist when the newly established Brentwood Baptist Church met at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home.

On June 20, 1971, Doris started the library along with the help of her friend Betty. She said, “[It] started as two hand-made bookshelves on rollers. We would close them up and store them during the week and pull them out on Sunday. Although there were only two shelves with 100 books, we had a variety of topics—Bible Study, Adult and Children’s Fiction—and we even had a film-strip projector.”

Doris and I spent a lot of time looking over old pictures. She had pictures of the first book that was purchased for the library. She showed me how the library was set up in the Women’s Baptistery and a picture of the cake from the library’s third birthday.

While looking through photos, she’d tell me who was in the picture and a little about their lives now. And she’d tell me about the books. “See this…book, The Bible is a Special Book? It’s still in circulation today. There were others that the Baptist Sunday School Board gave us that were in circulation until 1995, but they’ve been retired.”

Doris and Betty were intentional when it came to children. They made sure there were attractive window displays and summer reading programs, which included visual aids.

The first year, they made a tree out of paper and taped it to the end of the stow-away bookshelves. When a child read a certain amount of books, they would put a red-dot apple on the tree. Another year was a “Candy Land” theme, so candy was tied to a tree and the children were given a piece of candy as they returned their books.

“Challenging young people to read has always been my goal,” she said. “If people wanted a book, we would get it for them with the hope that it would enrich their life and their study. But helping children find a book that they could enjoy, and seeing their eyes light up and imagine they could become the person they were reading about, that was my favorite.”

In 1995, after years and years of opening the library before and after each church service, and after countless summer reading programs, Doris and Betty retired. They decided it was time to move on and let someone else have a chance to serve.

Enter Sue Caldwell, our current Brentwood Baptist Librarian. It was a natural transition for Sue as she had worked with Doris and Betty to understand her new role and carry on what they had started. “I built on what she left me,” Sue said.

This summer, the Brentwood Baptist Library celebrated its 40th birthday. Back then, there were 100 books in the library set up in a hallway at the Children’s Home. Today, there are more than 20,000 books, CDs, DVDs, reference materials, and more in circulation at the Doris T. Aderholt Library.

Doris and Betty live in Franklin, and they still get together every week after 40 years of friendship and 24 years of service together at Brentwood Baptist’s Library.

“Betty Heath, Faye Payne, and the other volunteer staff were wonderful,” Doris said. “We wouldn’t have been the same without all of those who helped process books and type up charge cards. Now, Sue is so helpful and gives very personal service to everyone. She does more than I ever could have done. We wanted the Library to be a place of service. At least we hoped it would be.”

So go ahead, stick your head in the door, wander among the shelves, check out a book, movie, or sermon series. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, ask for it. Sue Caldwell and the library staff will be there to carry on the legacy and serve.

Story by Heather Proctor, Volunteer Writer

The library is open each Sunday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. During the week, you can stop by on Tuesdays (9:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.) or Thursdays (9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.). Click here to get more details, including our online catalog of resources.