2022 is ‘in the books’

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Youth

Now that 2022 is in the books, we’re taking a look back at some of the big accomplishments at the Knox County Public Library last year. It’s a gratifying reminder of how much we’ve been able to do. Returning to a regular schedule after the recent disruptions due to the pandemic took some regrouping, but we are back to full throttle now, and it shows.

Check out just a few highlights of the past year:

We launched our #ReadCityUSA2022 challenge in January 2022. Collectively, we read 1.3 million hours this year with more than 40,000 people officially joining the effort. Be on the lookout for the launch of our 2023 reading challenge soon.

Historian Bob Booker worked with the Knox County Public Library and Steve Cotham, now retired from the McClung Historical Collection, to create a film entitled “The Lost World of East Knoxville: A Walk with Bob Booker,” recounting life before urban renewal. The East Tennessee History Center had a screening of this important film in February 2022.

In April 2022, we launched our new website (www.knoxcountylibrary.org) which includes a discovery layer to our catalog. The website and catalog are now much easier to navigate, find materials, place items on hold and manage individual accounts.

May 2022 saw the return of our Children’s Festival of Reading, held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1982 World’s Fair. It was a great way to bring back the Festival, now in its 17th year. We welcomed thousands of children and families to kick off our summer reading programs, enjoy books & authors, make crafts, explore science and more. The History Center helped us remember our unlikely World’s Fair with regular posts of memorabilia, footage and interviews.

In August 2022, we partnered with the Metro Drug Coalition, All4Knox, the Knox County Health Department and Mayor Glenn Jacobs to bring author Sam Quinones to the East Tennessee History Center via Zoom to discuss his book ”The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth.”

Dr, Walther Barth at work

In September 2022, the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS) received a grant award of $71,400 from the National Film Preservation Foundation and $12,000 in matching funds from the Friends of the Library to continue to restore the Barth Collection of home movies and films.  This collection offers a rare and unique look at life spanning two continents and several decades.

Families can now stroll AND read in the great outdoors. We opened three Storybook Trails this year, located in Westview Park (September 2022), Collier Preserve (October 2022) and Ijams Nature Center (November 2022). These are the first permanent story trails in Knox County. We will rotate the storybooks periodically throughout the year.

September was full of events as we hosted the first of three walking tours in downtown Knoxville with Laura Still. We explored literary Knoxville, church history and architecture, and the movie scene. We also held The Seeds of Imagination Luncheon to help raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Knox County, netting more than $75,000 making it possible for us to send 5,000 children a book every month for an entire year.

In November 2022, the East Tennessee History Center opened its newest exhibition “Lights! Camera! East Tennessee!” which showcases the impact that East Tennessee has had on the film industry. This showcase will remain open until July 3, 2023.

We have had a great year and would like to thank all of our patrons, sponsors, staff and the Friends of the Library for being a part of what made it so special. We look forward to spending 2023 with you!

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library

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