What We Fund

Friends of the Knox County Public Library helps fund programs not covered by the library’s budget. Additionally, our nonprofit status enables the library to receive much-needed programming funding from an assortment of federal, state, and local grants.

Learn more about the KCPL programs currently receiving funds from Friends:

Children's Festival of Reading

The Children’s Festival of Reading brings world-class authors, illustrators, musicians, and more to World’s Fair Park each May for a day of family fun and enrichment. The annual event marks the official kickoff of the Summer Library Club. Our used book sale is a popular tent at the festival.

Summer Library Club

The Summer Library Club rewards kids, teens, and adults for reading (or listening) during the summer. Friends funds summer library programming featuring Dr. Al Hazari and his awesome science shows, magician Michael Messing, and Zoo Knoxville.

Storybook Trails

The Storybook Trails provide an active reading experience where families can walk the trails and read together. Each story encourages a love of reading, imagination, movement, and the outdoors as readers move from panel to panel (like reading a page in a book) along the trail. Trails were installed in West View Park, Collier Preserve Park, and Ijams Nature Center in the fall of 2022.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Knox County

Each month Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Knox County mails one new, age-appropriate book to registered Knox County children from birth until age five at no cost to the family. More than 19,000 area children (73% of eligible children in Knox County) look forward to receiving their book every month.

Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS)

Friends provided funds to TAMIS to match a National Film Preservation Foundation grant to preserve the Walter Barth Film Collection. The Barth Collection contains several thousand feet of silent 16mm reversal motion picture film that documents three decades of Barth’s life, from his days as an engineer in late Weimar Germany to his immigration to the United States and eventual settlement in East Tennessee.

Merry Merry at the Library

Santa pays a visit to a number of library locations during Merry Merry at the Library each December. All Santa visits include either refreshments, holidays crafts, or holiday-themed storytimes. 

Fifty percent of funds raised during each branch used book sale are reserved for that branch’s use. During fiscal year 2022, branches spent over $5,000 on purchases ranging from furniture to art supplies.

In September 2020, Friends presented a check for $50,000 to the library for the purchase of ebooks and audiobooks. The donation coincided with the 50th anniversary of our organization. Watch a video of the presentation here.