The Friends of Loudon Public Library recently hosted a book sale outside the library to raise funds, spread awareness about the group and hopefully gain more members.
The sale featured community-donated books as well as some outdated material from the library that appealed to children and adults.
“It’s kind of an outreach actually,” Kate Clabough, library director, said. “We have community members that always look forward to a book sale at the library, and so it’s a fun thing for them to come and look through books and participate. … It is to bring other people to the library that maybe don’t check out books for whatever reason.”
FLPL exists to advance the mission of the library by providing financial and organizational support for reading, educational and cultural opportunities. Member dues and donations provide resources for programs, equipment and materials.
While the group has existed for a few years, the pandemic limited its ability. FLPL was finally able to achieve status as a 501©(3) nonprofit last year with Tennessee National Women’s Group helping raise funds for the effort. The organization has hosted several events, including an opportunity to meet candidates during elections in 2022.
“I’m an avid reader, and I’ve always encouraged that with all my children, but a library is more than just books,” Marie Franklin, FLPL president, said. “There’s just so many other things that they can get here. The computers, the help from the librarians and stuff. I just think it’s really important that we keep a viable library in the community, especially Loudon.”
While the library is primarily funded by the county, having a Friends group increases access to grants and other important support, Clabough said.
“Especially in a small rural area like we are in Loudon, you know, there’s just me and half a person here, and we do all the things, so to have a network of volunteers is really important, but even more so a network that’s dedicated like a friends group because they pay dues every year, and so they sort of buy in a little bit as opposed to just people kind of wandering through,” Clabough said. “It’s a bigger buy-in, but … it just gives us not only people, but some funding through the friends that can give us some other things we can do.”
Franklin said they plan to host an event the first Tuesday of every month. Clabough hopes to lead a class in April on Libby, the reading app powered by local libraries.
Franklin said the group has some impactful ideas but simply needs more people.
“We want to support Kate with the things she wants to do,” she said. “She has a lot of great ideas for the library and to help the community. There’s just things that can help with the community, too — story times and different languages, computer classes, maybe even more computers because there are people that don’t have them at home or who don’t have internet. We’re just really here to support Kate, and we’ll take her guidance as to where we go with the funds and stuff.”
Members of the community came by to peer at the book selection, which ranged from home school materials to popular authors such as Danielle Steel and James Patterson.
Rich Baker brought his two sons, Jedidiah and Obadiah. Baker said they moved to the area a year ago from Washington. Jedidiah read more than 100 books last year.
Baker said the library is where people should be coming to get information. He applauded Clabough for the way she engages with patrons.
“We love the library,” he said. “We come all the time.”
Frankie Lankford was looking at children’s books for members of her family. She said she loves the idea of supporting the library, adding that she grew up when getting books was difficult.
For more information or to join, forms are available at the library and on the Friends of Loudon Public Library Facebook page. Forms and dues can be dropped off at the library.