Welcome! | ¡Bienvenido!

Friends of the Knox County Public Library is dedicated to fostering a love of libraries, books, and reading in the Knox County area by community outreach, advocacy, and support of the Knox County Public Library System and staff.

Learn more about who we are and what we do.

  • Download a copy of our July 2020 Annual Report here.
  • Read the latest issue of Friends ❤️ KCPL, our monthly e-newsletter, here.
  • Subscribe to our e-newsletters to stay up to date on what’s going on with Friends.
  • Take a quick look at what the Friends have been up to in the slideshow presented at our Annual Meeting on July 20, 2020:

50 Years of Library Love

Since our first meeting at Church Street United Methodist Church on September 29, 1970, the Friends of the Knox County Public Library have been dedicated to finding ways to demonstrate our love for libraries, books, and reading in the Knox County area through community outreach, advocacy, and support of the Knox County Public Library System and staff. 

As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we presented a check for $50,000 — $1,000 for each year of our existence — to our library on September 30, 2020. The library will use our gift to add some 850 ebooks and audiobooks to its collection. Visit our special anniversary web page to view a video of the presentation as well as other videos, including a series of tributes from the library.

As we look ahead to our next 50 years, one thing is clear: Our library needs us more than ever. With your help, we can continue to support our library as it evolves to meet the changing needs of our community.

Mary Utopia Rothrock: A Tribute

In 1995, University of Illinois scholar Mary Mallory described Mary Utopia Rothrock as the “architect of regional library services” in “The Rare Vision of Mary Utopia Rothrock,” an article published in The Library Quarterly. Rothrock brought that vision of library services for everyone to Knoxville in 1916 when local merchant-historian Calvin M. McClung persuaded her to become the head of the city’s library.

Miss Rothrock’s tenure in Knoxville saw the beginning of a system that now includes 19 locations throughout Knox County — a system that exemplifies her belief that “wherever they live or work, the library follows.”

We’re grateful to Friend Martha Gill for narrating this tribute to Miss Rothrock.

Have You Tried KCPL’s Library to Go?

Say thanks to the Knox County Public Library, the best public library ever! Why? Because the good people at KCPL never stop finding new ways to serve our community. And now they’re offering curbside delivery! 

Here’s how Library to Go, the library’s curbside delivery service, works: 

  • Make your request by placing holds in the online catalog, using Ask a Librarian, or calling your favorite library location. You will be notified when your materials can be picked up.
  • Park your car in a Library-to-Go space.
  • Call the number on the sign.
  • Identify yourself. The staff will bring your requested materials to your car.

Shop at the Friends @ Rothrock Used Book Shop

The Friends @ Rothrock Used Book Shop at Lawson McGhee Library is now open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

The monthly special for October is audiovisual materials, including music, movies, and audiobooks. We also have a number of Halloween and fall-themed children’s books available for purchase.. 

The large bookshelf of special-priced books near the book drop has also returned to the store.

The following procedures for shopping at Rothrock will continue:

  • To maintain appropriate physical distancing, shopping will be limited to one household at a time. Other shoppers should wait in the area outside of the store. 
  • Rothrock volunteers will wear masks and gloves. To comply with the Knox County Board of Health Regulation #2020-1, all shoppers must wear face coverings inside the shop except for children 12 years old and younger and people with relevant medical conditions. 
  • While customers are in the store, volunteers will stay behind the plexiglass shield at the checkout desk.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in the front of the store, and customers will be asked to use some before shopping.
  • Volunteers will sanitize the checkout desk and any shared items at the beginning of each shift.
  • Customers can pay by cash, check, or credit card as usual; a $5 minimum is required for check and credit.

Suspension of Book Donations

We’re grateful for the books you donate to us
at your favorite
Knox County Public Library location, and we love receiving all those purple bags filled with your generous donations. However, we’re presently unable to accept donations. We’re working on a plan and will let you know when we’re ready to receive your gently used books again.  Thanks for understanding, and thanks for your ongoing support of Friends!

Be Among Friends in 2021!

When you’re a Friend of the Knox County Public Library, you are among friends — friends who are part of a community that loves and supports our library and acknowledges its value as a center of excellence in an informed society.

As a member of Friends, you’ll be part of a tradition of library love and support that began in 1970.

Whether you’re a new Friend or an old one, please join for the first time or renew your membership today! Library lovers all over Knox County will thank you!

Register your Kroger Plus Card

Support Friends of the Knox County Public Library by registering your Kroger Plus Card and choosing Friends as your recipient! You’ll earn points for us with every purchase you make — points that will be converted into dollars of support for Friends. Don’t worry — you’ll still receive your usual Kroger Plus Card discounts. And library lovers in Knox County will thank you for your support.

Follow these easy steps to link your card to Friends:

  • Register your card online — create an account; then enter your email, favorite store, and Kroger Plus Card number.
  • At the bottom of your Account Summary, click Enroll under Community Rewards, and either enter our Kroger Nonprofit Organization number (HA962) or just search for Friends of the Knox County Public Library.