Between Friends - Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - June 2017

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - June 2017

Dear BCPL,

Greetings from the desert country of Qatar! I wanted to take a moment to thank you on behalf of my Soldiers for the package of books that you sent us. First, let me tell you our story so I can explain how much of a difference your books have made. We are four months into a twelve-month deployment. We are a PATRIOT unit and our mission is to defend American and Coalition lives and assets from the threat of possible aerial attack by enemy planes and more importantly tactical ballistic missiles in the case that war breaks out with Iran. We spend our days on 24-hour shifts, rotating through three crews. Our sites are fully manned and ready to engage enemy threats within a moment's notice with surface-to-air-missiles. When not at war, however, life at site can become somewhat...boring. That's why I reached out to organizations such as yours to provide my Soldiers with productive ways to entertain themselves and occupy their minds while on shift. There's nothing quite like getting absorbed in a good book, whether it be a novel, biography, historical account, or self-help guide. Many of my Soldiers did not consider themselves readers before I started to receive books from generous donors such as yourself and built a display of interesting books in plain sight where they could see them and pick up whichever book caught their interest. At first the Soldiers were puzzled. "Sir, where are you getting these books from?" they would ask. I told them that nice people who cared about us donated these books so that we would have something productive and entertaining to do instead of sitting around playing on our phones. "I haven't read a book since high school," some retorted. "I don't read," others said. I didn't admonish or judge them. I just kept putting books on display, rotating themes every week.

It didn't take long to catch on. Every time I brought in a new package of books Soldiers would gather around curiously to see what kinds of books were inside. Nearly every day I'd notice a Soldier with a new book in his hand that I had unpacked from a box I'd received recently. Some asked if it would be okay for them to take the books back to their rooms, to which I agreed wholeheartedly. Before long, our unit became known for our "library," and even Commanders from other units would come by and ask if they could pick up a book or two! Our Battalion Commander applauded us for taking such an active interest in maintaining our Soldiers' morale and encouraging self-education. I didn't do it to get his attention, but I guess when you do good things, people notice.

None of this would have been possible without people like you. I'm stunned and beyond touched that a total stranger would take the time out of his or her day to acquire, package and mail books using their own money so that people they've never met before could have something in their hands while on this long and lonely deployment and get away in their minds. People like me are told "thank you for your service" quite often, especially when we're in uniform. My response is always the same, and it is always sincere:

Thank you for your support.

Warm regards,
Scanned signature
First Lieutenant Peter Y. Lee, US Army

A Great Opportunity for Lifelong Learning

By Friends Staff Writer Robert McClelland

Perhaps you’ve heard the terms “lifelong learning” and “lifelong learner” but don’t know what they mean. After graduating from high school or college maybe you’d hoped learning was over, and you waved your diploma to prove it.

Lifelong learning guru Nancy Merz Nordstrom says that “lifelong learning is like a health club for your brain, and an active mind can stimulate physical activity and keep your spirits high.”

To follow this advice, you need look no further than the Blount County Public Library, which opens a door to more than 300 free online courses that can be taken from the comfort of your home or business and at your convenience. These represent a variety of subjects in the areas of business, computer, design, education, finance, healthcare, language and art, law, personal development, technology and more.

With such an array of courses to pick from you can improve your career options, acquire new skills, pursue a hobby or explore new concepts. Patient and caring instructors facilitate lively online discussion and provide lots of practical information.

Each course is six weeks in length with new sessions starting each month, so it’s easy to sign up anytime. A commitment of approximately two to four hours is required to complete two lessons each week. An award of completion is provided to the learner who finishes a course with a passing score.

Patrons with current library cards are allowed to enroll in up to five courses per year at no charge. To browse the catalog of available courses and learn how to enroll in them, go to the library website at Click near the top of the page on E-library, then select Gale Courses.

For those of us over the age of 50 looking to keep our minds sharp and our bodies engaged, taking some credit or non-credit courses such as these, being involved in community service and volunteer work, and traveling to broaden one’s cultural, social and intellectual horizons are excellent ways to accomplish those objectives.

I plan to take several courses myself. I think I will start with An Introduction to Microsoft Publishing.

A Note from the President, Denise Robertson


Regretfully, our rewards program where volunteers are given a $10 certificate for the café’, book sale, library account or a t-shirt after volunteering for 100 hours within a year must end. Also, the initiative to award an individual membership for one year to those who have volunteered fifty hours or more within a year must also end.

When Board members met to review the budget, the monies spent on these rewards were reviewed along with another reading of our bylaws. And, there it was in Article II, Section 2:

Section 2. No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of any member, trustee, official, or individual. The corporation shall not engage in propaganda or intervention in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office; however, it may lend legislative support where needed.

Further research found that this is a requirement of the IRS for an organization to attain and retain 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Therefore, the rewards program will end July 1, the beginning of our next fiscal year. People that have earned rewards through June 30 will receive them. Because we are ending these programs, once you are notified to pick up your certificate, please do so within 30 days.

Volunteer of the year – Larry Ackley

At the Volunteer Luncheon in May, Larry Ackley was recognized as the volunteer of the year! Larry has served on the Board as the President, Member-at-Large and as the Volunteer Coordinator. He’s been a “bin diver” for years and was often a daily presence in the Library either bringing in the donated books or training a new volunteer. Although he’s starting to cut back his hours to be able to volunteer more at his church, he’s still helping with books in the basement and with volunteer appreciation lunches in between his frequent cruises with his wife, Judy. He’s also generous with his time by sharing his experiences and advice with new board members and officers. That is Larry in a nutshell – generous. Thank you, Larry!

There was no set program for the luncheon other than to announce the volunteer of the year and to chat amongst ourselves. However, Dolores Philpot, Volunteer Coordinator, did circle the room asking individuals to explain what volunteer activity they did for the library. The responses varied: cleaning DVDs for the library, “bin diving”, sorting and shelving books in the basement, shelving books for the Library, repairing books for our eBay group and the Library, watering the plants. These responses only represent a small amount of the tasks we do for the Library. We are a diverse group with one common goal: help the Library to be the best it can be!

Some not so good news...

It is a long standing tradition that Friends are able to take a book home to read. If you have not returned it by the time of the next sale, you are expected to buy it. We are in the business of selling books, so please respect this tradition. I’m also sorry to say that there have been a series of thefts in the basement. Entire shelves of books have gone missing as well as all of the books by a particular author. We don’t know who has done this, but taking those books is theft. Cash was also taken from a workers purse.

The Library will be updating their security system and cameras are planned for the basement. However, when this will be done is yet to be determined. There isn’t much we can do at this point to monitor access or even to know who has been in the basement.

What we can do is monitor it ourselves by being aware. If there is someone in the basement that is not wearing a volunteer badge or library id, introduce yourself. The person may be new and not aware of the policy to always wear a badge. Explain the rules – the worst that could happen is you might make a new friend!

Vertical banner - Sponsored by Blount County Friends of the LibraryFriends Sponsored Activity of the Month

Just in case some of you feel really tired of shelving all those books, paying dues, making donations, we want you to know just how important your efforts are to the library community.

Mini-Con Launches Summer Reading at the Library

In an era of loud moaning about a lack of literacy, interest in literacy, ability to be literate, the Mini-Con event proved once again that many, many, many people of all ages READ, and they came to sign up for their age group to read reams of written literature. At the end of the summer prizes provided by Friends are awarded to three categories, Children, Youth, Adult.

Some fun pictures of participants are here:

Mini-Con 1
Mini-Con 2
Mini-Con 3
Mini-Con 4
Mini-Con 5

There was also a "Pop-Up" Library Book Sale.

Big thank you's to all the volunteers who take care of those mini-sales! Did you happen to catch the action? Many thanks for the delicious cookies as well!

Pop-Up book sale tables
Space Cookies

Panoramic photo of Library

To access the BLOUNT COUNTY LIBRARY CALENDAR of EVENTS, please click on the photo.

Blount County Friends of the Library would like to report that 20 of our supporters who have shopped at Kroger in the last quarter have contributed $158.82 as a donation to our organization. We want to thank Kroger and our supporters who shop there and who have linked their Plus (Rewards) card to our organization.

We would love to have everyone of our "Friends" participate in this easy way to donate to our wonderful library and its many programs for young and older alike! Go to and follow the instructions. Click on Community Rewards, type in our number 62076 and click Enroll. Be sure to show your Plus card everytime you shop at Kroger!

The more you shop at Kroger, the more money Blount County Friends of the Library will earn! Tell your friends and family!

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

Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
Newsletter Designer: Lynn McKean
Members at Large:
Jane Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Marcy Delozier,
Claudia Erwin, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore, Dolores Philpot

Newsletter Feature Writers: Robert McClelland, Carla Leone
Social Media Directors: Claudia Erwin, Sara French
Social Media Consultant: Bob Myers