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

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - October 2017

Thank You!

Blount County’s First STEAM Festival

A Thank You from Jennifer Spirko, Blount County Library Youth Services Manager

Our first STEAM Festival on Oct. 14 was a great success, thanks to the many staff members who worked together – through some chaos – to bring it to life but mostly due to the Friends of the Library, who made the whole event possible.

Throughout the day, we had approximately 215 people at six different events, including a Professor Greybeard’s science show, an embroidery “craft jam,” Scribfolio art workshop, video and board gaming and coding workshops. Presenters included Professor Greybeard (of “Mr. Bond and the Science Guys,” our favorite mad scientists who usually visit during summer as well); Cindy McDannel and Fine Arts Blount; Thomas Proffen and Yvonne Dalschen of Oak Ridge Computer Science Girls (a nonprofit educational organization); Mary Cooper of Heritage High School and four of her students; the Blount County Nerds; and the Twisted Sisters, Margaret and Sassy, of the quilt shop of the same name on Court Street.

Youth Services collaborated with Information Services to combine our Gaming @ Your Library program with The Big Read, the month-long event centering around the novel Station Eleven. With the help of Kathleen Christy and A.J. Rowe (and of course the Friends!) we included the hit board game Pandemic and Pandemic: The Cure, and it was so much fun that we might make it a regular event.

There were a few special stories I want to share:
One of my Girl Scout families was here, and the mom told me a few days later that she hadn’t remembered the event was happening. “We meant to just stop by the library for a few minutes,” she laughed, “and we were there for HOURS!” Both girls loved the science show and the embroidery (the younger one was one of the kids featured in the Daily Times), and the older girl also loved the coding and Scribfolio workshops.

Heritage High School teacher Mary Cooper was here at my invitation, because I thought her high school students might want to get some good experience helping coach the younger kids in the coding workshops. She told me she was thrilled to come with them, because “we never get invited” to such events; people don’t always realize the great STEM programs they have at Heritage H.S.

Not only was it good experience (and we are looking forward to connecting her students and Ari Baker for some future opportunities), it was also an invaluable connection with the computer science gurus from Oak Ridge Computer Science Girls, Thomas and Yvonne, who are planning to mentor the high schoolers and have them help at their other various events and workshops (mostly in Knox and Anderson counties). Thomas also shared some software licenses and some concrete ideas with Mary, and in general it was such a valuable connection that, as she recounted them and shared her gratitude, we both literally had chill bumps on our arms! At the end of the conversation, she said, “Look, I’m not a hugger, but I’m going to hug you!” I was overwhelmed.

You made this happen, Friends of the Library. You made all that fun and learning happen, and all those valuable connections which are even more important than the day’s program itself. Our library’s slogan says we create connections and inspire imagination, and STEAM Festival was a great example of how that slogan can come to life.

Jennifer W. Spirko
Youth Services Manager

Prof. Greybeard and the Science Guys
Girls coding with instructor Mary Cooper

Hair standing out with static electricity

And it was all fun and games!

Donations to the Friends from
April 2017 to October 16, 2017

Trivia Winners

Tim Peterson, Yvonne DeMarino, Larry Moore, Claudia Erwin won the weekly trivia tournament at the Public House on High, 321 High Street, Maryville and donated the grand prize to the Blount County Friends of the Library. Picture courtesy of The Daily Times, Monday, September 18, 2017

Contributors for the period include:

  • Arlene and Barry Schimmel
  • Beatrice Thompson
  • Carol Krauss – for Barbara Tallent Ward Memorial
  • Claudia Erwin, Yvonne Demarino, Tim Petterson, and Larry Moore
  • Fridell Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
  • John and Martha Pittenger in memory of Minvera Henderson
  • Joyce and Neil Niles
  • Karen Burrow in memory of Irma Tulloch
  • Marlene and Louis Milliken
  • Mary Catherine Hammon
  • Michell Lee Bell
  • N.L. Gustitis
  • Nancy Furian Stiefel
  • New Providence Presbyterian Church
  • Susan Lawhorn and Jim Mongold in memory of Irma Tulloch
  • The White House Assisted Living in memory of Irma Tulloch

Foothills Voices Book Debut

Foothills Voices BookWhen: Thursday, November 2. 6:30PM
Where: Dorothy Herron Room, Blount County Library
What: Great Food and Facts about one of the most interesting Appalachian collections ever written.

Four of the twelve writers will speak. You can discover Faye Wooden’s Vannie Cook, Alice Kolbe’s Decorative musings, Cathy Madden’s early coal mining days, and Joyce Leo’s discovery of another kind of mining, gold digging, human version.

You will also have an early opportunity to buy the books by the 12 authors who spent over a year studying their subjects and learning the techniques of writing from local experts.

The Foothills Voices stellar book was the brain child of Blount County Director, K.C. Williams. She was inspired by the library’s Southern Appalachian Studies program, started by an Information Services librarian, Linda Marcus, that brings scholars, authors, performers, and craftspeople to the library to talk about Southern Appalachia.

Director Williams wanted to bring a tangible contribution to the community. She met with Nancy McEntee, local author/historian, and they devised a year long writing course in creative nonfiction. Librarians Jennifer Spirko and Brennan LeQuire plus other community experts facilitated the writing courses, teachers, and final collecting and publishing of the book which was financed and is being sold by the Friends of the Library, all proceeds going to library programs.

In her introduction to Foothills Voices, April J. Wegner, genealogist, writer, and Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society, Editor of The Blount Journal, says that “…ancestors are given a voice by the writers to tell the stories of local folks and how they lived.” She hopes people will be inspired to write their own stories.

Credits: Foothills Voices Introduction—April Wegner; Foothills Voices Preface—Jennifer Spirko

Thank You!

Thank you from New York City

The solar eclipse was a resounding success and our welcoming community is now famous as far away as New York City! Please see the special note below.

Dear Friends of the Library,
We chose your library as our viewing spot for the total solar eclipse.
We were overwhelmed by the beauty and friendliness of the staff. The eclipse
viewers were welcomed with open arms. It was the perfect spot for a once in a lifetime experience.
In gratitude we would like to make this donation of $50. The love and care you have put into this library should be a model for all.
Arlene and Barry Schimmel, New York City

Thank You from the Library Staff

Tea Time
Where: Sharon Lawson Room
When: Tuesday, November 7, 11:30 AM
What: Light Lunch and Fellowship
Catered and Sponsored by: Library Staff
RSVP: At Reference Desk, Friends Office, OR to Dick Burgess.

Important note with push-pinImportant 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.

multi-colored hands

Friends Booksales Help

Though several volunteers answered the last call for help, there are still a few genres lacking leaders.If you can spare a little time, several book sections would benefit from your attention. These needy areas are: Self Help, Textbooks, and Home Study/Education.

Respond to Dolores Philpot, Volunteer Coordinator.


Put This on Your Calendar!

Thursday, November 2nd, 6:30 pm: Foothills Voices Book Debut

Tuesday, November 7th, 11:30 am: Volunteer Appreciation Tea, Sharon Lawson Room

Thursday, November 16th, 11 am: Medicare Plans and Changes for 2018. Joani Shaver, Director, Blount County Office of Aging, will speak and answer questions about Medicare. You may call her at 865-982-8411 or 877-801-0044 or go to

Panoramic photo of Library

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

BCFOL Officers:
Board President, Booksale Director:
Denise Robertson
Vice President: Dick Burgess
Treasurer: Marcy DeLozier
Secretary: Robert McClelland

Directors at Large:
Jane Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Ann Fairhurst, Meg Halter, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore
October Feature Writera:
Jennifer Spirko
Dolores Philpot

E-Letter, Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
E-Letter, Newsletter Designer: Linda Ayres
Website, Book Sale Flyer Designer: Araby Greene