TLC Neighborhood Library racks arrive, Center seeks book donations

Published 5:17 pm Sunday, July 2, 2017


That was the word used by TLC Community Center Founder and Director Angie Odom to describe the outpouring of support from the community to assist the Center in its latest project to create neighborhood lending libraries.

“Thanks to the article in the Elizabethton Star we had such a great response in just five days,” Odom said on Friday. “My goal was to get maybe eight or 10 of these racks. Today we are having 20 delivered thanks to the people in the community who wanted to sponsor them.”

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“I am so grateful for the way our county responded,” she added.

Through the sponsorships from community members and businesses, the TLC Community Center was able to purchase 12 of the large three-tier racks along with eight smaller racks, which Odom said would be perfect to create the neighborhood libraries in smaller neighborhoods.

Odom said she is currently working to finalize locations for all of the libraries and once those are set she will announce the placements. The Center is looking to locate the neighborhood libraries at churches, stores, and volunteer fire departments in the community.

The idea for the libraries came from the children which the Center serves, Odom said. While delivering meals through the Center’s Summer Food Program, Odom said she asked the kids what types of services or programs they would like to see in their neighborhoods. Many of those children asked for books, Odom said.

“I asked one little girl what types of books she liked, and she said ‘I’ll read anything you give me. I don’t have a lot of books at home,’” Odom recalled.

Now that the library racks are here, Odom said the Center is looking for donations of new or gently used books to be stocked. The idea behind the lending library is that children will take a book to read and then return it when they are done.

The books will be cycled between the locations to help keep new books for children to read available.

“We get to put Christian books in them because that is the message we share her at the TLC Center,” Odom said.

Not only will children be able to pick up a book to read on their own or with their families, but Odom also said she is working to organize live reading events at the different locations where Center volunteers could go at a set time and read to children in that neighborhood.

In addition to using the racks for books, Odom said the center plans to also put canned food items and personal hygiene items in the racks from time to time to help out those in need in those neighborhoods.

While working to put the project together, Odom said some had asked her about the potential for the neighborhood libraries to be abused.

“There are going to be people who abuse it, who take more than they need or the books will never come back,” Odom said. “But you cannot be afraid to do something for someone because there may be somebody who abuses it.” If the program helps one child, Odom said that would make it worth the effort even if others abuse the program.

Odom said she feels the neighborhood libraries will provide an excellent opportunity for local churches and youth groups to do outreach programs by keeping the libraries stocked, providing food or hygiene items, or spending time reading to the children.

For more information, the TLC Neighborhood Libraries, to donate books or canned food, or for more information on the TLC Community Center and its programs, contact Angie Odom at 423-895-8601.