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You Can’t Go Wrong at the Annual Used Book Sale!

Left: Thomas Anderson at the Knoxville Writers’ Guild spelling bee, 2016. Right: Shadow Singer by Marcia J. Bennett.
The Friends Annual Used Book Sale is “basically the highlight of my year,” says Thomas Anderson, who works at the front desk at Lawson McGhee Library during the day and reads in many genres by night.
A particular favorite of his is science fiction. In addition to the more notable works in the genre, he includes one vintage pulp sci-fi novel a week and posts a review of it on his blog, scheduled to go live on Sundays. He says he reads these lesser known works because “In order to analyze what’s good, you need to know what’s bad.”

At the 2016 used book sale, he spied Shadow Singer by Marcia J. Bennett. His review pointedly indicates it is a standard planetary fantasy story rather than science fiction, and it was not the best of that lot. However, it did fulfill his need for “bad literature” for that week.
Of the annual book sale, he says, “Even if I don’t find anything particularly blogworthy, I know that I’ll find something at a good price, whether interesting, scholarly, or something that would just look impressive on my shelf.” Recent examples include “a translation of an Indian text that was recommended to me by a late colleague, some choice selections from Dr. Johnson’s dictionary, and a book of math puzzles I bought for a friend.”

Marking his calendar for the 2017 sale that runs April 1–4, he adds, “You can’t go wrong.”
Branching Out for the Library
Sharon Smith (left) and Marye Rose, co-chairs of the Advocacy Committee.
Knox County Friends love KCPL. And for many Friends, KCPL is local — the beloved branch at Mascot, for example, or at North Knoxville or Powell or Karns. In their branch those Friends love sitting in a favorite chair near the window overlooking the bird feeder or picking up their favorite mystery from a smiling staff member who remembers their name. For Friends who want to share their enthusiasm for books, reading, and libraries within those local communities, Friends is launching a new initiative — Branch Liaisons.
Sharon Smith and Marye Rose of the Advocacy Committee are looking for one or two volunteer advocates from each branch to become Branch Liaisons. These volunteers will have an informal chat with branch managers each month to learn more about the stories and successes of each location. Those conversations will enable advocates to support their favorite local libraries as they
  • Create a “feedback loop” between the branch and the Friends network;
  • Convey the branch’s stories, activities, and successes to the Communications Committee to be shared in the Friends publications;
  • Support and thank the branch’s staff for their service to the neighborhood.
Branch Liaisons will also share information about the services of the branch and the mission of the Friends with other groups like civic organizations and business groups within the larger neighborhood.
If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity to advocate for your beloved library branch, contact Sharon Smith at or Marye Rose at
Believing in Libraries: A Family Tradition
Bill Crosland, Friends past president, supports the public library because it promotes literacy in all areas of society, from children to members of the workforce to seniors. He believes that wisdom and understanding come in part through reading and that keeping those qualities strong is essential to America.
You might even say that supporting the library is in Bill’s genes. He is the grandson of Mattie E. Hunter (pictured here), who worked to establish a library at the Brushy Mountain Penitentiary and in whose honor the prisoners dedicated the Mattie E. Hunter Library in 1920. 
In a 1920 letter, a prisoner described the Mattie Hunter Library as containing “a thousand good books and about half the number of good Magazines, and we are receiving many good magazines from those that have their freedom and at the same time have an intrest [sic] in down-fallen humanity and the uplift of their fellow man.”  Maintaining that library was, Prisoner I02I5 wrote, “our feeble efforts in trying to show our appreciation for your Gentleness, Motherliness, Kindness, and the many Untiring efforts in our behalf.”
The library in Petros was one of many achievements in the 35 years Hunter worked “to bless and brighten” the lives of prisoners and “to help them re-enter the world to be better men,” according to J. C. Dudley’s tribute to “Mother Hunter.” A “zealous worker” with “a quiet gentle nature and deep humility,” she never sought publicity but was well known across the country for her work in state prison reform. She was appointed eight times to the National Prison Congress by governors of the state to represent Tennessee. Her funeral in 1931 was conducted by her minister assisted by the president of Trevecca College and the state prison chaplain. Honorary pallbearers included three former governors and the warden of Brushy Mountain Prison as well as a number of other prominent Tennesseans. 
Dolly and the Governor: Partners for Preschool Literacy
In 1996, Dolly Parton had a dream. Her dream led her to found Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to place books in the hands of preschool children in Sevier County, her home county.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen also had a dream. He approached Dolly about expanding her Imagination Library into every county in Tennessee. The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) was created in 2004.

Since October 2004, more than 27.5 million books have been delivered to Tennessee children from birth to age five. Today GBBF continues to work with Dolly’s Imagination Library to make books available to all Tennessee children. According to the GBBF website, this dynamic public–private partnership is unlike any other in the United States. Almost 517,000 five-year-olds have “graduated” from Tennessee’s Imagination Library since 2004.

Friends of Tennessee Libraries serves as an Outreach Partner for GBBF/Imagination Library. Friends of the Knox County Public Library helped launch Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County in 2005. Since 2007, an annual $5,000 Friends grant has contributed to the matching funds required at the county level to sustain the program. Knox County has the highest percentage of registrants in any urban area of the state and mails almost 20,000 books each month.

At the 10th anniversary celebration of Imagination Library in 2006, Dolly paid tribute to her father, Robert Lee Parton. “My father couldn’t read and write. It was in his honor; it says ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and I wanted to do something to honor my dad because he was a wonderful human being. So, it’s very personal to me. Very emotional. And I’m just so happy that I can help put books in the hands of children. You can’t ever get enough of that, can you?”

To paraphrase Dolly, we can’t ever get enough of the good news about helping place books in the hands of children!
Faces of Friends: The 2017 Used Book Sale
Friends members Al Horn (left), Kay Hays, and Bill Crosland, co-chairs of the 2017 Used Book Sale, are committed to making this year’s sale an event to be remembered.

Thousands of carefully selected books and more will be on sale April 1–4 at the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park. Proceeds will benefit the Knox County Public Library.
Coming This Spring: Two Author Events
Amy Greene (left) and Anne Lamott. (Photos by Amy Smotherman Burgess and Sam Lamott, respectively.)
Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m.: Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture, presented by Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot and Long Man, at the East Tennessee History Center

Sunday, April 9, 7 p.m.: Anne Lamott, author of Small Victories and Hallelujah Anyway, at First Presbyterian Church, 620 State Street
Shop at Rothrock Used Book Shop
  • All Over the Page: Underground Airlines – Monday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • Books Sandwiched In: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League – Wednesday, February 22, noon MORE>>
  • All Over the Page: Vinegar Girl – Monday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • Books Sandwiched In: Bad Feminist: Essays – Wednesday, March 22, noon MORE>>
  • An Evening With Amy Greene: 2017 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture – Thursday, March 23
  • Friends of Tennessee Libraries Annual Meeting – Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25
  • Imagination Library’s Under the Big Top Gala – Thursday, March 30 MORE>>
  • Friends Annual Used Book Sale – Saturday, April 1–Tuesday, April 4 MORE>>
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Copyright ©2016 Friends of the Knox County Public Library. All rights reserved.

Friends♥KCPL is a monthly e-newsletter produced by the Communications Committee of Friends of the Knox County Public Library. Members of the committee who contribute to the e-newsletter include: Martha Gill (Chair), Peter Andreae, Deanne Charlton, Martha Edington, Beth Fisher, Paula Hickey, Rusha Sams, and Joyce York.

About Friends of the Knox County Public Library: Friends is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster a love of libraries, books and reading in the Knox County area. The organization raises funds to sponsor community outreach programs, represent the interests of Knox County library patrons, and support a variety of services offered by the local library system that would otherwise not be available due to budget or staff restrictions.

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