Library preps for new year, opportunity

Elaine Nagelson, Friends of the Tellico Village Library president, sorts through books outside the front of The Public Library at Tellico Village.

Supporters of The Public Library at Tellico Village viewed 2020 as challenging but beneficial.

COVID-19 concerns forced the library to cancel big fundraisers, which typically brought in needed dollars.

“We were all worried,” Elaine Nagelson, Friends of the Tellico Village Library president, said. “I mean it was a daunting thing when we couldn’t have all the things we had planned, but we have some very creative people and they came through. The people in the Village are just awesome.”

Creativity birthed mini book sales, a puzzle sale and road rally, which brought about $11,500, Liz Hall, Friends past president, said.

“One of the advantages of the mini book sale for us was that we used a very small group of volunteers to set up because we were right out here in the courtyard, and so the ladies and the gentlemen that ended up helping us with on the setup were absolutely fantastic — it was a great book sale time,” Barbara Ellerbrock, Friends publicity spokeswoman, said. “We didn’t have to rent anything — no expenses, and so it was pure profit for us. That was just absolutely great. ... The other wonderful thing about our book sale is we went after particular genres. We did not have history mixed with coffee book tables mixed with romance mixed with (others). We went and actually named the sales so that people knew when they came that we were focusing on mysteries.

“There might be some other things in there also, but the main thing was the ‘mystery madness’ was one,” she added. “That was wonderful, too, because we were able to get the people who were really interested in those books.”

Mini book sales did so well they will replace the larger book sale fundraiser this year, Ellerbrock said.

Last year’s inaugural road rally saw a big turnout after having to cancel the popular 4 Bs fundraiser. Hopes are to bring both back in 2021.

“Not one person really said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ they were just chirping like birds,” Hall said. “Really — and the weather was gorgeous.”

Membership saw a bump to 838, including renewals and newcomers,for the year.

“I am thinking that we are certainly ahead of schedule with memberships,” Hall said.

“We’re going to be doing another push with name tags and memberships in the next few months,” Ellerbrock added.

New year plans

With exception to the book book sale, hopes are to have a mixture of old and new events for 2021.

“Right now the plan is not to have the big book sale but to have several small sales because the people who worked it last year said that they so enjoyed it,” Ellerbrock said. “We also have a ladies golf tournament on the books for June 5. We have the event committee planning a silent auction that hopefully they’ll be able to put together in March. We’re going to have the road rally again. Hopefully, if things go well, September will show us with our 4 Bs again, which is very exciting for us because that’s a great fundraiser.”

A genre-based tea will also be considered. Hopes were to have it in 2020, but health concerns forced cancellation.

“The teas are going to be part of a theme, like ‘From Jane Austen to Downton Abbey’ was the original one,” Ellerbrock said. “It was going to be a three-course meal and then trivia related to the whole English romance genre. It sounded like a great deal of fun, and then they had three more planned for the rest of the year, including a Dickens holiday theme one, which I thought was going to be kind of neat. They’re looking at it again and seeing if they can do it.

“We have to plan in advance because if the governor and the president say, ‘OK, it’s a go,’ on April 1, if we don’t have our plans in place then we might not be involved in it until June,” she added. “Everybody is hard at planning right now.”

Nagelson said library supporters will meet this month to nail down specifics.

In addition to events, Ellerbrock hopes to tackle a broader reach in the community and dispel that the library is only for Tellico Village.

“We have liaisons in WindRiver and Rarity Bay, so we’re trying to get the word out to them and be much more consistent with it,” Ellerbrock said. “We’re on Facebook. We do almost like a quarterly newsletter and all of that goes out to the general public in the Village, but I’m going to try to incorporate that further out.”

For Hall, a focus in 2021 will be a strategic planning committee to look years in advance on how people can utilize library services. Hopes are to find ways to attract people into the library and have volunteers interested in being there long term.

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Bench pickup

Through Jan. 30, the library will return to book bench pickup due to COVID-19. Pickup will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday outside the front of the building.

Hall said the pickup has proved highly successful.

“I think that speaks really highly of the quality of books that we have in here and the quantity, because they’re so easy to get online through your Kindle and Amazon and all of that,” Ellerbrock said.

For more information, contact the library at or 865-458-5199.