Community Outreach

Books in the Community

We provide books to organizations serving marginalized communities in Knox County. Our volunteers work with these organizations to select appropriate books and then arrange for delivery or pickup at the Friends @ Rothrock Used Book Shop in Lawson McGhee Library.

In FY23, Friends distributed 11,675 books and other materials to 45 community partners and 16 Little Free Libraries. We placed a particular emphasis on purchasing and placing diverse books.

Friends relies on monetary donations to purchase most of our diverse books. Diverse books, often written by and about people of color, allow young readers to see themselves reflected in the books that they read.

For more information about Books in the Community or to see if your organization qualifies, please email us at

One Book Read City

One Book Read City is a community-wide program that gives elementary students in Knox County an opportunity to engage in reading the same book. The program fosters reading at home, encourages dialogue, and brings community organizations and schools together through events and activities centered around the book.

For the inaugural One Book Read City in the spring of 2022, all Knox County Schools elementary students received a copy of The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. Friends funded the books for Lonsdale, Maynard, West View, and Green Magnet elementary schools. In the spring of 2023, we donated $7,600 to purchase more than 3,000 copies of Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows.