Alexis Woodard

LEAD Academy Alumna, student at Southern Illinois University

I’ve been a regular at the library since ninth grade, when I started coming for Southern Word. I met a lot of friends through open mics and poetry slams, and the library just became our chill spot – it’s where I found my confidence. It seems like years ago when you’d ask a friend if they were going to the library, they’d say something like, ‘Libraries are boring.’ Now, if it’s 3:30 in the afternoon you can hardly walk around the library because there are so many teens hanging out, reading books, playing games or using the new equipment. So many teens in Nashville are involved in music, writing, recording… and now they have a place to go – a place to explore.

Because of the library, I always had a safe place to go.

Spending time at the library impacted me in a big way. I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen – people going down the wrong path – and it hurts me to see that. I was fortunate to be part of something more, to be involved in something that has a positive impact on a teen’s life. Because of the library, I always had a safe place to go. I only hope the teen spaces continue to evolve. I want it to get bigger and get more resources so more students can come. I want to see it expand, because it’s working.