Between Friends - Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - December 2016

Blount County Friends of the Library Newsletter - December 2016

Welcome to the Bookmark Café

By Robert McClelland, Between Friends Feature Writer

Today’s library is much more than a repository for books and other printed matter. Gone are the cold, silent halls that mainly beckoned serious students. Airy and bright, the décor and ample seating arrangements make our library a focal point of community life, providing space for friends to gather as well as to tap into the wealth of knowledge stored there.

Interior photo

Welcome to the Bookmark Café, which is part of the Blount County Library. Operated by the library itself rather than an outside catering service, the café provides yet another way for patrons to feel cozy, comfortable and connected. As an integral part of the library, proceeds from sales go directly back into the library fund, and the moderate prices are sufficient to cover costs.

Karen, Cafe manager

The menu has something for almost everyone. Karen Hamm, the café manager, says that tons of cookies and scones and, of course, gallons of coffee are sold there. Tuna and chicken sandwiches are made in-house and cakes are made from scratch. Delicious smoothies, lattes, and espressos are whipped up to order. Karen also notes that the community at large is very proud of the café. It is not unknown for residents to bring their visitors to the library just to see it.

The Blount County Friends of the Library have played and continue to play a significant role in promoting the café. For example, the Friends helped to fund the cold case and the soda refrigerator. Patrons who wish to donate to the café are asked to donate to the Friends instead. Look for the donation box the next time you buy something good to eat or drink while you are the library. Also, don’t forget that as a volunteer you can enjoy a 15% discount on anything you buy there if you are wearing your badge.

Cafe staff member

You may wonder if as a Friend of the library you can volunteer at the café. Unfortunately not, but if you would like to work there, the county is currently recruiting for another assistant to work between 25 and 29 hours per week. Karen is looking for an outgoing person to fill the position.

On your next visit, why don’t you take your favorite hot or cold beverage over to one of the nearby tables or a comfy chair overlooking the Greenbelt and relax awhile?

Letters from Santa 1907-1919

Tabletop Christmas treeBlount County Library, thanks to the adept organization of Kathleen Christy, Melinda Rust, Lisa McDaniel-Tipton and other Reference librarians, has a most endearing display of archival Christmas letters to Santa sent to the Maryville Daily Times and compiled in a scrapbook by Josephine Dunlap. The library will be displaying different decades of these letters in the years to come, but this year they have chosen to exhibit Santa Letters from 1907-1919.

Red scrap bookBC Friends of the Library donated all the ornaments which are vintage reproductions of those actually used during that time in East Tennessee. The electric candles displayed on the tree as well are reproductions of the actual candles used on trees then. Electricity was available in the area by then but people chose candles instead.

A brochure is available beside the tree which explains the vintage Christmas Tree decorations and a lot about ornaments of the time. Information Services at the library also has a book with more information: Christmas Through the Decades.

Letter to Santa from FaySome examples of the kinds of things children requested from Santa during that period:

Dear Santa:

Theodore: candies, apples, oranges, please do not forget, dear old Santa, the poor little children who have no home and gladden their heart with some presents.

1910 Ernest, 8: box of fire crackers, some figs…and nice nuts

Newspaper clipping1910 Edward, 8: pair of skates, a whip, and do not forget my little sweethearts

Lucy…& Edna …and do not forget little boys and girls who have no mamma and papa

1919 Faye, age 10: doll in a cradle, box of handkerchiefs, a little comb…

These types of requests are reproduced in easily read ornamental Christmas pages all over the tree! Viewers will be blessedly warmed to read the children’s innocent requests in a time overcast with World War I.

Children are Children in any era!!!!


(Quarterly Book Sale Valuables)

By Carla Leone, Between Friends Feature Writer

Volunteer with book cartTen years ago three volunteers working to prepare donated books for the quarterly sale noticed that there were many volumes which seemed to be more valuable than most. The volunteers were Marie Harris, Carol Trammel and Penny Myers. They then started a category called Collectibles.

Collectibles include first editions, out-of-print books, books signed by the author, and unique and/or beautiful volumes. These books are screened by FOL volunteers for physical condition then checked on which contains descriptions and pricing for books carried by approximately 150,000 booksellers around the world. The price for FOL volumes is usually set at or below the lowest price for a comparable copy listed by BookFinder. A card is then prepared which lists the author, title, publisher, publication date and price, and any other pertinent information. Each collectible includes this card so the prospective buyer can see the market price and the FOL price.

Collectibles Section signCollectibles are shelved in a special section during the quarterly book sales so that prospective buyers can find them easily. This location near the sale table is for the most valuable titles and oversized volumes. About 300 new titles are added for each sale divided into the following categories: Fiction, Poems, Plays, History, Science, Animals and Plants, Sports, Humor, Biography, Religion, Arts and Crafts, Music, Non-Fiction and Children.

Since 2014 Collectibles priced at more than $14.95 under the guidance of Ted Taylor have been listed on E-Bay so they are available to a much wider body of customers and many are sold in this way. Those remaining in the Library are listed for the decided upon price for two sales. If a collectible is still on the shelves after two sales, it is reduced in price and moved to the reduced shelves, where it can be bought for a bargain price.

Since the program was started in 2006, 7,146 volumes have been sold for a total of $42,171.70. Some of the greatest included a book with a signed dedication by President Lyndon Johnson ($200.00); Picturesque Egypt, a two volume set dated 1878 ($150.00); Portraits from of North American Life ($100.00); A History of Tennessee and Tennesseans ($100.00); Nancy Drew (16 volume set ($75.00); The Junks and Saipans ($75.00); Tennessee History 1673-1932 ($75.00); Geologic Atlas of the Rocky Mountain Region ($100.00); and Lansdowne’s Birds ($60.00).

Obviously, there are more than run of the mill paperbacks at the quarterly book sales. If you haven’t already checked out the collectibles section, it might be worthwhile!

volunteers Needed!


E-Bay Committee desires people who have curiosity and interest in finding out the value of books, old and new. You will undergo training in methods and process of using the internet for this research. Other roles to support E-Bay sales include, but are not limited to, listing items online, monitoring sales, packaging, and shipping them to buyers.

Collectible Books

Determine prices for books not determined economically viable for E-Bay sales, but useful for our Book Sales. Label, sort and shelve these books.

Subject Specialists

One or, ideally, two volunteers are responsible for sorting, and displaying specific genres in our Book Sales area. Section specialists decide whether a donated book is a good addition to their shelves and may label them with date or special price.


Printing date and price labels is an ongoing requirement for our quarterly book sales. Be a backup to the current “label specialist” who will provide training. Please respond to volunteer coordinator, Dolores Philpot (

Things are Moving in the Basement

Report by Denise Robertson, BCFOL President

As mentioned previously, the collection in the basement is in the process of making some changes in order to bring more like subjects together and to ease overcrowding in some sections. The moves are almost complete although work remains. Temporary signs will be put in place with more permanent ones scheduled before the next sale. At the same time books are being shuffled around, procedures are being documented and everyone is working well as a team.

Thank you Friends

Lisa Misosky, who owns Southland Books/Gourmet Café on East Broadway, has donated many beautiful bookshelves to help the EBay Book Sale. Friends sort and shelve the many valuable collectibles slotted for EBay sales. Please thank Lisa when you see her at the library or at her amazing bookstore/café.
Sorting table

Many thanks from the Collectible volunteers for the sorting tables designed and constructed by Dick Burgess.

From Membership

"Membership renewals are in process to members who are due to renew January 1, 2017. Please watch your email inbox or your mailbox for your notice. It would be helpful if you could please submit your check to Attn: Membership or pay on Pay Pal prior to the January book sale. This may help alleviate some traffic congestion at the elevator on the first day of the sale. Thank you."

Marcy DeLozier Dick Burgess

November Tally of Volunteer Hours

Volunteers put in 1,536 hours of service in November, 2016.

Four volunteers qualified for earned membership in Friends of the Library.
Four volunteers qualified for a $10 gift certificate for use in the Cafe, Book Sales, or Library fees and fines (Patron Account), or a T-Shirt. These volunteers were informed that, as of this month's notification, there now is a requirement to pick up their award within two months of notification.

Additional avenues (posting in office and e-mail) of dissemination are planned.

Dolores Philpot

BCFOL Officers:
President: Denise Robertson
Vice President: Vacant
Treasurer: Betty Jo Fowler
Secretary: Bob Myers

Newsletter Editor: Jane Bennett
Newsletter Designer: Lynn McKean
Members at Large:
Jane Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Marcy Delozier,
Claudia Erwin, Lisa Misosky, Mary Moore, Dolores Philpot

Newsletter Feature Writers: Robert McClelland, Carla Leone
Social Media Directors: Claudia Erwin, Sara French
Social Media Consultant: Bob Myers