Tellico Village Library branches out to serve future clients
Debbie Patrick knoxnews.com
The library of the future may not just lend books, but a much greater variety of items, like power tools or even bicycles, according to Doug Christman, president of Friends of the Library at Tellico Village.
"Libraries are evolving; they are virtually without boundaries," he emphasized, pointing out the Tellico Village facility's computer center, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, and commercial kitchen, all available in addition to books to patrons living in Loudon County.
Last year for example, the library hosted 83 seminars, lectures and classes, with a total attendance approaching 2,000. In addition, it had over 59,000 "items" in circulation, including books but also CDs, audio books, movies and DVDs.
"It's about helping the community in ways that people need," said Carol DeForest, library manager. "We want to keep getting them engaged and learning new things."
For the modern library, that means offering not just books but also coffee, classes and computer workstations. The Tellico Village library has just added access to ancestry.com to their computers because genealogy classes were in such high demand. Local residents and patrons have learned to sign up early for all the classes, as they fill up fast.
The library also has a summer reading program and tutoring among their outreach programs to children from Lenoir City and Loudon, and movie nights in the summer.
Richard Seymour, marketing director, said he thinks of the library more as a community hub, a gathering place.
The Public Library at Tellico Village is unique in the state as the only library owned by its Friends of the Library organization. The library actually started as a book discussion group in 1987, grew into a cubicle at the Yacht Club, then to a vacant retail store front and finally in 2012, to the $1.5 million, freestanding facility and campus they have today.
In Tennessee, libraries are supported by the tax base from the incorporated communities in which they're located. But Tellico Village isn't incorporated. So as committed bibliophiles, they have found a way to make it work. They've relied on generous patrons, members of the Friends of the Library organization, grants, fundraisers, volunteers and a little help from the county.
There are "one and a half" paid staff members, according to Seymour. All other positions are filled with volunteers.
One of the biggest and oldest fundraisers is the upcoming Annual Book Sale, Friday and Saturday April 22 and 23, beginning at 9 a.m. each day at the Community Church adjacent to the library. An estimated 30-35,000 donated books, puzzles, DVDs and CDs will be for sale, enough to fill the auditorium at the church. Scores of volunteers have meticulously sorted the books by category and author for easy shopping. A preview night will be held April 21 for members of Friends of the Library at Tellico Village. Most books are priced between $1 and $3, and volume discounts are available.
Books that aren't sold are divided and donated among 11 local charities, including the men's prison, where readers are particularly interested in the Western genre.
"It's a wonderful way to give back to the community," said Carolyn McDermott, the book sale coordinating volunteer.
Prices are kept low even though the event is a fundraiser, she explained, adding, "People look forward to this sale all year long."
For more information about the book sale, or programs at the Library at Tellico Village, visit www.tvlibrary.org.