Authors, Books, and the Circus
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Annual Book Sale Means Anyone Can Afford a Home Library

What’s in store at the Friends of the Knox County Public Library’s Annual Used Book Sale April 1–4? We talked with the co-chairs of the event to see what to expect.

Kay Hays, who has been buying “bags of books” at the sale for more than 25 years, says that one way this year’s event will be different is in the quality of books offered. As a volunteer with the Friends Book Flow team, Kay should know. “We’ve worked tirelessly throughout the year to check the condition of all donated books to ensure they are in great condition. We’ve also maintained records from year to year to see which books sell, so we make sure we have plenty of the most popular books available,” she says.

Her co-chair, Al Horn, also works on the Book Flow team, and he echoes Kay’s sentiment. “We've been more selective this year. We’ll bring only the best and cleanest. At $2 for hardcovers and $1 for trade paperbacks, we’ll have something super-affordable for everybody.”

Al also reports another change to this year’s sale. “We’ll be at Chilhowee Park again, but this year we’ll set up on the north side of the Jacob Building, where the handicap parking is just outside the door. We’ll also make the aisles between book tables wider for improved access.”

Both Kay and Al agree the annual Used Book Sale is much more than a major fundraising event for Friends. It’s one of the biggest opportunities the organization has to fulfill its goal to get books into the hands of readers of all ages. “Our love for books and desire to share that love,” Al reports, “really shine through at the annual sale.”

“After I was in second grade,” Kay reminisces, “I walked to the Burlington Branch every week for years and during high school worked as a ‘page’ at the branch after school. I love books, and I love having a well-stocked library at home that I can afford — thanks to the sale.”

Super Shoppers Shop Twice

Willa J. Holtzclaw holds the cross-stitched holiday tray that she made as a fundraiser for the Jefferson County Humane Society. Jeanne Ringe, president of the society, joins Willa and Willa’s husband Paul in this photo reprinted with permission from the Standard Banner.
Willa J. Holtzclaw and her husband Paul enjoyed last year’s Annual Book Sale so much that they attended it twice, and the 2017 event is already on their calendar. They plan to drive from Dandridge, where they live, to the Jacob Building for another shopping excursion on Members Only Day on April 1.
Willa and her husband Paul were glad to know that last year’s sale was moving to the Jacob Building because that destination is an easy drive from Dandridge. They appreciated the convenient parking, too. Besides, Willa said, the large facility was good, the setup was easy to maneuver, and when the Holtzclaws bought lots of books, there “were good people to help us load them into our car.”
Paul, a veteran of the Navy who served in the Southwest Pacific during World War II, looked for authors he reads like James Patterson, and he found them. Willa, who loves to cross-stitch, found several magazines and books devoted to her hobby.
Willa’s creations in cross-stitch have raised thousands for the Jefferson County Humane Society. The Jefferson County Standard Banner reports that last summer an alphabet quilt that Willa worked on for over a year raised $1,356 for the building fund, and a shoe quilt and a tray added another $1,343 this past Christmas.
In 2000 Willa retired from Knox County Schools after 30 years, most recently as co-op coordinator for vocational trade and industry programs. But she and Paul stay busy. In keeping with their support of the humane society, they rescue abandoned cats and enjoy their adopted dog, a boxer-Lab mix. In their home on the lake, they keep plenty of reading material on hand, much of it acquired at Friends used book sales. In fact, the Holtzclaws have received an award from Friends of the King Family Library in Sevierville for being first in line at its book sale. 

Amy Greene: Daughter of Appalachia

When Bloodroot was published in 2010, Amy Greene became a rock star in the literary world. Fascination with the culture of Appalachia experienced a revival far beyond the Southeastern United States as the book became a national bestseller. Her second novel, Long Man, published in 2014, is set in Appalachia as well, with the Great Depression and the arrival of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the region as historical backdrop.

Greene will present the 2017 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the East Tennessee History Center. The event, which is hosted by the Library Society of UT Knoxville and the Friends of the Knox County Public Library, is free and open to the public. Sponsor Union Ave Books will have copies of Bloodroot and Long Man available for purchase, and Greene will sign books after she speaks. The Knox County Public Library and the East Tennessee Historical Society are also sponsors of the event.

Amy Greene’s biography coincides with many aspects of her novels. She was born into a family that has called Appalachia home for generations. She recalls family stories concerning some of the folklore and magic she wrote about in Bloodroot and Long Man. For example, her paternal grandmother took her baby daughter to a man who cured her thrush in the same way Clifford Pinkston cured Byrdie’s in Bloodroot. And when Greene’s mother was growing up, her family lived down the road from a witch named Huldie who read neighbors’ fortunes in coffee grounds. Greene’s mother also had an aunt who removed warts by rubbing a stone in a circle around each wart and then throwing the stones away. Greene says she has “always seen Appalachia as a magical place.” People continue to believe in the folk magic, she believes, because they see “tangible results from the practice of it.”

Greene has also transferred the language of Appalachia — the language she had heard all her life — to the page, appropriating the voices of her family, friends, and neighbors for the characters in Bloodroot and Long Man. Knoxville native Dale Dickey was chosen to read Long Man on the Audible version and gives a stellar performance with her Appalachian diction and pronunciations.

Greene was named Tennessee Writer of the Year in 2010 by the Tennessee Writers AllianceIn 2011, Humanities Tennessee selected Bloodroot for Student Reader Day, a program that brings writers and young readers together. Five East Tennessee high schools were selected for a visit by Greene, including Central and Fulton High Schools in Knoxville.

Rediscovering Mercy With Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott wrote her first novel, Hard Laughter, for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. What has become her signature style in both her novels and her nonfiction — dealing with tough subjects with both honesty and humor — was immediately apparent in this story of a family coming together to deal with heartbreak.
Lamott’s latest book, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, will be released April 4. Knoxvillians will have an opportunity to see and hear her a few days later when she speaks at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Knoxville on Sunday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event will go on sale on the Friends website March 6 for $20 each and will include a copy of Hallelujah Anyway.
During an interview with the Dallas Morning News several years ago, Lamott said, “I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness — and that can make me laugh…. Books, for me, are medicine.”
In Hallelujah Anyway, the characteristics that define Lamott’s writing are apparent as she explores the complicated nature of mercy and guides her readers along a path toward a greater understanding of themselves. Recognizing both the presence and importance of mercy in our lives, she says, is crucial, as “kindness toward others, beginning with myself, buys us a shot at a warm and generous heart, the greatest prize of all.”
Wit, wisdom, and a touch of irreverence are always part of an evening with Anne Lamott. Join Friends, the Knox County Public Library, Union Ave Books, and our host, First Presbyterian Church, for a dose of her distinctive medicine on April 9. 

Under the Big Top With Imagination Library

This month 20,406 books will be mailed to Knox County’s children under the age of five at no cost to the families of the children who receive them. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Knox County, part of an extensive public–private operation, raises half of the funds needed for that operation — $230,000 annually, to be exact — and on March 30 you can become a part of that partnership by attending a major fundraiser.
Under the Big Top is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mill and Mine, a newly renovated venue near downtown. Tickets for the gala are available here. In addition to the circus theme, beautiful venue, delectable food, and entertainment, all for a great cause, the gala will honor a very special friend of Imagination Library, Tennessee’s First Lady Crissy Haslam.
Both Governor and Mrs. Haslam have been supporters of Imagination Library and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation for years. Mrs. Haslam’s visits to local communities throughout the state promote literacy and love of reading, and her initiative, the Read 20 Family Book Club, is designed to help families have fun reading together for 20 minutes each day. Each month Mrs. Haslam recommends a book and encourages families to continue reading other books. She also supports the complex public–private partnership that makes the work of the Imagination Library possible here and in other locations.
  • The Dollywood Foundation manages the selection, pricing and distribution of the books.
  • The local Knox County Imagination Library affiliate, a program of the Knox County Public Library, enrolls children, promotes the program in the community, and raises funds for half of the cost of books and mailing. Knox County Friends currently donate $5,000 to the local effort. The Board has pledged to continue that amount each year through 2022.
  • The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, headquartered in Nashville and supported by an annual state grant, matches what the local organization expends.

Books and Little Kids: A Great Photo Op

Imagination Library is looking for pictures of Knox County children and families who are making the most of Imagination Library books. And the best of the lot will earn the photographer two tickets to the Under the Big Top gala (a $200 value) and an Imagination Library gift pack. Other winning photos will be featured in various Imagination Library publications. The deadline for submissions is March 15. For more details about the competition, see “Smile” here.

Telling the Friends of Libraries Story in Tennessee

Love of story is an enduring cultural value. On March 24–25 at the King Family Library in Sevierville, a bestselling author, a retired State Supreme Court judge, and representatives from Friends of Library groups across the state will honor that tradition as the Sevier County Friends host the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Friends of Tennessee Libraries.

All interested Knox County Friends are invited to attend this year’s meeting. A printable registration form and schedule for March 25 can be found here, and an online registration form is available here
Shop at Rothrock Used Book Shop
  • The Neighborhood Conference: Connecting Neighborhoods, Building Community – Saturday, March 11, 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • All Over the Page: Vinegar Girl – Monday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • An Evening With Amy Greene: 2017 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture – Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m. MORE>>
  • Friends of Tennessee Libraries Annual Meeting – Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25 MORE>>
  • Books Sandwiched In, Evening Edition: Kindred – Tuesday, March 28, 6:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • Books Sandwiched In: Bad Feminist: Essays – Wednesday, March 29, noon MORE>>
  • Imagination Library's Under the Big Top Gala – Thursday, March 30 MORE>>
  • Friends Annual Used Book Sale – Saturday, April 1–Tuesday, April 4 MORE>>
  • Farragut Branch Sale – Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. MORE>>
  • An Evening with Anne Lamott – Sunday, April 9, 7 p.m. MORE>>
  • National Library Week – April 9–15
  • All Over the Page: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – Monday, April 10, 6:30 p.m. MORE>>
  • Rossini Festival Used Book Sale at the East Tennessee History Center – Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. MORE>>
  • Books Sandwiched In: Why? Explaining the Holocaust – Wednesday, April 26, noon MORE>>
  • Halls Branch Sale – Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. MORE>>
Members Shop First at the Annual Used Book Sale! 
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Copyright ©2017 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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