Library friends to discuss expansion

Nov. 18, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

Ideas for fundraising to expand Seymour’s crowded public library will get an airing Tuesday, Nov. 19.

A capital campaign is now under way. Friends of Seymour Public Library is inviting comment and discussion on how to pay for the first step, purchasing land adjacent to the library. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the library.

Cost of the land, to the south of the existing building, is $65,000. Friends President Colleen Shannon has suggested the community raise $32,500 and that Sevier County Commission be asked to fund the other half.

“We encourage community members to let us know their thoughts about the best ways to go about financing these improvements,” Shannon said. “The library is an important resource for the whole community.”

Currently, space is limited. There is no more shelf room available to expand the book collection; more computers are needed; more room for meetings, children’s activities, studying and storage could also be included in the expansion.

Seymour is part of Sevier County Public Library System; the other two parts are King Family Library in Sevierville, which has a brand-new multi-million-dollar building, and Kodak, which needs an entirely new building.

Recently, backing for the Seymour expansion and for a new building in Kodak came from the Sevier County Public Library System Foundation and from the system’s Board of Trustees. Officials from both organizations stressed the need for expansion in Seymour, as did Library System Director Rhonda Tippett.

Tippett called Seymour, whose population has expanded in the decade since the library was built, “an incredibly vibrant active community” with amazing circulation statistics. She has fund-raising experience and has told Shannon she is willing to help.

A survey is currently being done to determine what improvements Seymour library users would like. Blue survey cards with four questions are available at the circulation desk. After Jan. 1 results will be tabulated and used in decision-making as plans go forward.

Shannon said the Friends have recruited three new business members. “We will emphasize local businesses in fundraising,” she said. Cost of business membership in the Friends is $25.

In other business Tuesday, “we need to approve our contribution to the summer reading program” for next year, Shannon said. The program is one of the library system's most important programs, she said. “Without the mental stimulation that reading provides, children can lose the equivalent of a whole grade level over the summer. The reading program is not only helpful academically but also fun with ‘edu-tainment’ provided by actors, story-tellers and other entertainers.”

All of this costs money and requires major contributions from each of the three Friends groups.

The meeting is in the community room of the library at 137 West Macon Lane in Seymour.