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

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - September 2017

A Library Engaged in Community Building

By Robert McClelland

K.C. Williams

K.C. Williams has been the director of the Blount County Library for almost four years. Fortunately, when K.C. succeeded Kathy Pagles, who retired after nearly 24 years of service, the library already had great staff, was committed to serving area residents and appeared primed for the transition. With a nexus of talent, vision and opportunity, the library, looking outward to the community, successfully initiated some truly remarkable program offerings to address myriad interests and establish enduring connections.

Should you reflect for a moment on what the library has done in the past four years, you will certainly see an emphasis on collaboration and partnerships, more spaces for interaction and more networks—digital and human. A fine, detailed summary of the achievements can be found in the library’s recent report “Building Community.” Ask for a copy the next time you drop by. During an interview for this article, K.C. explained a concept that I had not considered before. She explained that in community building, the third place (or third space) is a social surrounding separate from the two usual social environments of home (first place) and the workplace (second place). In other words, it is a place that is not home or work but is one where people gather.

Under K.C.’s guidance, one of the library’s directions this year is to expand and enhance the library as a third space for area residents. Spend enough time at the library and you will certainly understand how this idea works.

K.C. also wants to expand the library’s capacity as a learning community. In that respect, the new Learning Lab, a 1,500 square-foot STEM training center for adults, which opened last December, certainly stands out. In addition, it is exciting to see what the library is doing for kids. One example is STEAMkids where every week our youth can engage in hands-on experiments and activities. These students are exposed to robotics and 3D printing among other types of technology that they may not have had the opportunity to experience.

Our library is lucky to have K.C. at the helm, and she feels fortunate to be here. In her opinion, BCPL is the best facility, with the best staff, and Blount County is the best community that she has ever worked in.

Important note with push-pin  Important Elevator News for Volunteers

We have important new steps to take when we want to go to the basement. Why? The desk where the elevator badges were kept is often not manned, or womaned would be the better term. Anyone could get a badge and go downstairs. For Safety, book control, and theft control, only authorized Friends and Library Staff need to be in the basement - except for book sale days when all buyers and volunteers may be there without elevator badges.

The Friends and staff from now on will be really safe going down because the badges have been removed from their lonely basket in the back of the back section reception desk and put in the reference department in the section where a reference person serves at all hours. That person will see your name on your badge, sign you in, give you a badge, and wish you well in your endeavors in the basement.

Reference librarian holding pass

Steps to follow now:

  1. Go to Friends office and get your name badge
  2. Go to reference desk wearing your name badge (some reference personnel do not know all of us) and tell the reference person you wish an elevator badge. That person will sign you in on the notebook provided and give you a numbered elevator badge.
  3. Take the badge to the elevator and swipe it. When you get the green light, press the button and have fun working in the basement, choosing books to read, and or visiting with other happy, safe volunteer.

Please understand that these methods were devised in your best interests. Being downstairs with unauthorized persons is a risky business.


Your Help is Needed

Genre areas in basement sales areas need volunteers to maintain the orderly presentation of subject areas. Specifically, the Art/Photography, Medicine/Health, Bargain Fiction, Self Help and Sports areas need help.

This means everything involved in readying books for display e.g. sorting specific books for value, labeling with date and/or price if necessary, and shelving in the genre area. Due to normal volunteer turnover, these areas need workers right now. If you have special expertise or interest in the area, this is a plus, but not required. Please consider helping. Contact Dolores Philpot, Volunteer Coordinator.

Note from the President, Denise Robertson

Time Flies

The old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” must apply to each and every one of the Fiends! More and more people are getting involved in our many activities and new ideas are popping up every day. To me, that’s an indication that we are all enjoying what we are doing on behalf of our organization and the library.

  • The Books for the Homebound is a rousing success,
  • The Books for Soldiers crew redid their exhibit and are pursuing setting up a library exhibit,
  • Our collection of books in the lower level of the library is looking good,
  • eBay is setting a record pace on sales,
  • Ex LIBRIS continues to bring joy to the elderly,
  • The Jailbirds are faithfully maintaining the jail library,
  • Books are being repaired,
  • Little Free Libraries are being stocked.

The list goes on and on. Not to mention the fact that the Friends is now a publisher! Foothills Voices is out! You can purchase a copy at the library or order from Amazon. Each copy is $14.95. Reference is temporarily selling them (checks only please for now) until we can work out a way for the Café to handle the sales. A copy of this book would make a wonderful Christmas gift and Christmas is only 13 weeks away – remember, time flies.

Panoramic photo of Library

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

BCFOL Officers:
President: Denise Robertson
Vice President: Dick Burgess
Treasurer: Marcy DeLozier
Secretary: Robert McClelland

Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
Newsletter Designer: Linda Ayres
Members at Large:
Jane Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Ann Fairhurst,
Meg Halter, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore

Newsletter Feature Writers: Robert McClelland, Carla Leone
Social Media Directors: Sara French, Jasmyne Carter