TLC Community Center’s Lending Libraries continue to grow with 10 new locations

The TLC Community Center has organized the Lending Library program for about a year and a half, but after a donor gifted 10 more stations to the center, the program is growing once again.

The center’s director, Angie Odom, said the program started around September of 2017.

“They were originally a part of a separate fundraiser we did,” Odom said. “People could choose to sponsor each library.”

Each Lending Library is a plastic kiosk from which children can take books out for reading, either right next to the kiosk or to take home to read.

The TLC Community Center scattered the original 20 kiosks across the county in places like Little Milligan Baptist Church, Roan Mountain Community Park behind the post office, Fairview Baptist Church and even one at TLC itself.

The kiosks come in two colors. While the green ones are standard and simply contain books for children to take out, the red ones also contain cans of non-perishable food behind the top sticker.

“We only do canned foods, so no plastic items,” she said.

She said this was to ensure the food would last through snow or other weather conditions.

The Lending Libraries originally came about through TLC’s summer food program, a staple of the center.

“One girl we took food to asked if we had any books,” Odom said. “We managed to get some for her, and then this program kind of took off.”

The center is currently looking for places to put the 10 new kiosks, and Odom said she is looking for any organization who is willing to host one.

There are some requirements, however.

The kiosks cannot be at someone’s personal home address. Safety is also a big concern, Odom said, as the kiosks are meant as a place for children to publicly gather, so Odom will do research on a suggested location to see if it is safe enough to house a kiosk, including looking into the local sex offenders list.

Odom said they are always looking for book and food donations, as they are always needing to restock the shelves of both items.

“I know they are being used because we are always having to restock them,” she said.

Those looking to donate books or food can do so by simply putting them at the appropriate kiosk or by sending them to the TLC Community Center at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd.

Those looking to donate books can give any kind of child-appropriate reading material, with one notable exception.

“Please do not put romance novels in the lending libraries,” Odom said.

Those looking for a complete list of locations can contact the center at 423-543-4673 during normal business hours.

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