Between Friends - Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - August 2016

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - August 2016

Muchas Gracias, Fairpark

By Janetta Baker
ExLibris program Coordinator

There are many benefits to participating in the ExLibris project through the library:

  • some derive from the feeling one gets when truly connecting with someone, and
  • some from the incredible stories shared by members of The Greatest Generation.

Early this Spring, I experienced yet another incredible reward—an invitation to nothing less than a Fiesta!

The brightly colored, festive invitation was postmarked Fairpark Health Center and signed by Cheryl Weaver, Activities Director. All members of our team were invited to come and share in the fun. Sadly, I was the only one available to attend—and the thought of going by myself did not thrill me. Being the Program Coordinator for ExLibris, I knew I really needed to be there—so off I went. Was I ever glad I did!

On arrival, I found myself surrounded by at least 60 other people—some in Fiesta–related clothing. The cafeteria had been transformed into a colorful Mexican cantina and we saw from the menu that taco salad (however we liked it) would be served. Entertainment was provided by the Knoxville Argentine Tango Society who performed for us, told an interesting history of the tango, and even gave lessons to members of the audience who wished to learn.

Fiesta tableFiesta dancing

It was fabulous!

I sat at a table with three other women who shared their experiences in volunteering at Fairpark. One had been going there for years playing music. Another had been bringing her children with her to simply visit with residents who had no family. The newest volunteer joked that she was just the rear echelon—it was her sweet little dog that folks really looked forward to seeing each week.

Driving home that night, I realized what a wonderful evening it had been—great food, delightful entertainment, good conversation, and the knowledge that I had just made a number of new friends. All of our ExLibris team will surely be on the lookout for next year’s invitation to Fairpark’s Volunteer Appreciation Event. I am eager to see what Cheryl and her staff come up with next.
Muchas Gracias, Fairpark!

Interested in joining this energetic ExLibris Group:
Please contact Barbara Zurl
Phone: 865-977-6034

Family Tree Search

by Carla Leone
(Between Friends Feature Writer)

Family tree drawing

Thinking of creating your family tree but do not know how to begin? Go no farther than the library!

The Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society is a group of volunteers dedicated to showing you how to start, proceed, and to find those ancestors on your family tree. They are located in a small room on the corridor past the snack bar across from the Blount County Friends of the Library office. Office hours are Thursday 9 am to 12 noon. The nonprofit organization, affiliated with the Blount County Public Library, was founded in 1985 and has ties to the Friends through the volunteering program.

The objectives of the Society are listed in a pamphlet available in the Society office. Some of these objectives are: to strive to increase the awareness of the pleasures gained from the study of family history; to collect and reserve historical documents, traditions, oral history and other items of value; to assist the library in enlarging its collection of genealogical and history reference materials; and to sponsor classes, seminars, tours, and other events for the educational benefit of members and the public.

Joining this Society is easy. Annual membership costs $20 and is open to all individuals. This membership includes genealogical and historical information plus lists of books for sale. Copies of all journals from the first one published in 1985 are shelved in the office.

Members of the Society cannot do research for individuals, but they can spend up to 30 minutes checking indexed sources for one surname for a fee of $10 per surname. Money collected by the Society is used to increase the genealogical resources of the library.

The three Society officers I met on a recent Thursday morning, Max Renfro, BCGHS president, Karen Kidd, BCGHS recording secretary, and Roma Tipton, BCGHS corresponding secretary, were very friendly and extremely knowledgeable.

Researching your family tree could be a considerable investment in time but could be extremely interesting as well!

Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society works with Blount County and surrounding counties records and can be reached through the library at (865)982-0981 Extension 109 or through their website:
or via email:


By Denise Robertson, President


It’s hot, hot, hot and August is here! I’m waiting for the first cool front to come through, signifying fall is near. We just completed our July book sale and the October one will be here quickly. Between now and then, don’t forget to re-enroll your Kroger Plus card in the Kroger Community Rewards program. Participants must re-enroll each year during August as Kroger’s new year begins September 1. You can enroll or re-enroll at any time, but why not do it now so the Friends can receive the maximum benefit? What is the Kroger Community Rewards program? Kroger gives back to community organizations by donating a percentage of participant spending totals to the organization of their choice. So, please go to and select the Friends so that we can reap the rewards!

Suggestion Box

Do you have a great idea you’d like to share with the Board of Directors? A complaint? Even a compliment? If so, there is a suggestion box in the Friends office along with note cards to write down your messages. The box is checked frequently and any suggestions, complaints or compliments and their answer will be published in the newsletter. Open communication is the path to a better organization!

Sections of William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor were staged in the library main gallery on Monday evening, July 25.

4 cast members3 cast members5 cast members

***Jpegs were submitted by Tom Parkhill, Executive Director of the Tennessee Stage Company, to be used as promotion for this year’s performance of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at the library

Tom Parkhill, Executive Director of the Tennessee Stage Company, is quoted in the library’s news release as saying: “We always look forward to performances at the Blount County Public Library because the audience is so receptive and appreciative.” This performance was no exception as the gallery was filled with Shakespeare lovers of all ages who enthusiastically applauded the actors who, for this particular performance, were dressed in 1950’s style costumes.

Audience watching Merry WivesAudience
AudiencePerformers on stagePerformers on stage

Thanks to your many volunteer hours preparing and hosting the book sales plus your dues, many entertaining events will be coming to the library under the title: Hot Summer Nights: 7pm

August 4, "EmiSunshine."  This 12-year-old prodigy sings and plays old-time Appalachian music with equal parts Americana, country, gospel and bluegrass.

August 11, "Wendel Werner & Alan Eleazer."  A concert of sacred and secular jazz

August 18, "Spencer’s Own."  Nashville all-vocal band of 5 brothers, performing a family harmony of country with the edginess of rock

August 25, "The Young Fables."  The Young Fables with Laurel Wright accompanied by Wes Lunsford on electric guitar

September 1,  Knoxville Opera gives a preview of the Knoxville Opera Company 2015-16 Season including The Pirates of Penzance, La Boheme, and Mary, Queen of Scots.


For more information go to

*** EmiSunshine jpeg is from EmiSunshine and the Knoxville Opera Company photo was taken by Joan VanSickle Sloan at Blount County Public Library. The other jpegs are from each group’s website (with link below image)

Thank You!

Donations - February through July 2016

Betty P. Neal
Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society
Brian & Rosemary Barker
David & Sweet Young
Eleanor E. French
Gary Carpenter
Henry & Shirley Law
J.K. & Gloria Watson
Louis & Marlene Milliken
Sylvia Galde
Everett High School Class of 1966 for Genealogy/Local History
From Carole Trammell with Grateful Appreciation to
Bruce and Denise Robertson

Joe D. Mitchell by the Chilhowee Investment Club

BCFOL Officers:
President: Denise Robertson
Vice President: Vacant
Treasurer: Betty Jo Fowler
Secretary: Bob Myers

Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
Feature Writer: Carla Leone
Newsletter Designer: Lynn McKean
Members at Large:
Jane Bennett, Dick Burgess, Marcy Delozier, Claudia Erwin,
Kellie Frazier, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore, Dolores Philpot

Social Media Directors: Claudia Erwin, Sara French
Social Media Consultant: Bob Myers