A Place to Connect with the Past
In his early days, Secor’s local library in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was a place to explore his growing desire for independence. By the time he reached third grade, he was spending a good chunk of his time there.
“The library was the one place where I could say, ‘Mom, I’m going to the library,’ and the response I got was, ‘Okay, be safe,’ and I could just go. I couldn’t say that for anywhere else,” Secor said. “I loved being there because it was a place devoted to learning.”
It was at this center of learning that Secor discovered favorite works such as The Cay by Theodore Taylor, the film adaption of The Bridge on the River Kwai, and other stories that reflected how he felt: like an adventurer.
That love for libraries only grew as Secor set off on his own adventure as a musician. Together with his bandmates, he traveled the United States, stopping in cities across the country to busk, play music festivals, and learn. And in each of them, one of his first stops was always the local library.
Just as critical for Secor, and for library users today, is the connection that libraries offer to our past.
That’s true for services like the Metro Nashville Archives, which collects documents, archival footage, and more from the history of the Metro Nashville Government. It’s also true of the numerous books and artifacts in our library’s Special Collections, like those from the Civil Rights Movement featured in NPL’s Civil Rights Center.
“I learned so much about Nashville’s history from visiting the library. I first learned about the late Dr. Looby simply because I visited the library bearing his name,” Secor said. “I read up on icons like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams there, but I also learned about the Civil Rights Movement, and heroes like John Lewis, by visiting the Civil Rights Room.
“It’s fascinating — you see how Nashville served as a testing ground for civil disobedience before moving into other parts of the South.”
But books and materials aren’t the only connection to the past that libraries offer. As a meeting space for the community, libraries are a place where, as Secor notes, the young and the old connect. Together, they share stories, experiences, and lessons that span decades of history.