Community Connections

Centro Hispano

Centro HispanoThe grassroots organization Centro Hispano serves as a welcoming community center, a source of essential information and a gathering place for the civic participation of Hispanics in our community. During Hispanic Heritage Month 2014, Friends supported a book drive to gather 500 books for Centro’s resource library. Friends also added books to Centro Hispano’s library in 2017 through the Books in the Community program.

East Tennessee Historical Society

ETHSAuthor events and common goals bring Friends together in partnership with the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS). Established in 1834, the ETHS is the educational and public programming arm of the East Tennessee History Center — a facility operated by the Knox County Public Library System.

Great Schools Partnership

Great Schools PartnershipThe mission of the Great Schools Partnership (GSP) is to serve as a “think-tank, catalyst, incubator and start-up funder for making Knox County Schools globally competitive.” In April 2014, Friends was a co-sponsor of an evening with Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way. Friends was also a co-sponsor of an evening with Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, in March 2015. In 2017, Friends helped promote GSP’s Leaders for Readers program.

Head Start of Knoxville-Knox County

Head StartRead with your child — it’s the most important 20 minutes of your day! Volunteer readers from Friends visit area Head Start Centers and enjoy what all parents and librarians know: the delight of reading aloud to children.

Please contact LaVance Davis if you want to volunteer as a reader or substitute.

Imagination Library

Imagination LIbraryFriends helped launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Knox County in January of 2005. Since 2007, an annual $5,000 Friends grant contributes to the matching funds required at the county level to sustain the program. Friends volunteers assist at many Imagination Library events.

Knoxville News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund

KNSESFFriends contributes new and like-new age-appropriate children’s books to one of the area’s most revered holiday assistance programs, the Knoxville News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund (ESF). View the photo album from the 2016 Children’s Book Drive here.

Library Society of the University of Tennessee

UT LIbrary SocietyOur inaugural collaboration with the Library Society of the University of Tennessee in March 2014 brought Appalachian writer Ron Rash to a standing-room-only crowd at the History Center. In March 2015, we co-hosted ethnomusicologist Dom Flemons at the Bijou Theatre; Robert Morgan spoke at the Bijou Theatre in 2016. The alliance continued in 2017 with the appearance of best-selling author Amy Greene at the East Tennessee History Center.

The Library Society has archived recordings of the 2014–2017 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lectures on its website.

This vibrant Friends group advocates for “freedom of access to information and the appreciation of research collections” and raises awareness of the value of the University Libraries to the community, state, and researchers around the world.

Union Ave Books

UnionAveBooksFriends partners with Union Ave Books for outstanding author events. Past events have included  Steve Inskeep in 2015, Erik Larson and Dan Zak in 2016, and Anne Lamott in 2017. This independent bookstore in the heart of downtown Knoxville also sponsored ESF Saturday in December 2015 and 2016 with the Lower School of Webb School of Knoxville to support the Empty Stocking Fund Children’s Book Drive.