A look at the one-of-a-kind library in Tellico Village

Read Across America Week

As read on WLTV click here to see full video and article.

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:32 PM EST

TELLICO VILLAGE, Tenn. (WVLT) – East Tennessee is home to a special library. Tellico Village Public Library is the only privately funded, public library in the state. One nonprofit has the important job of keeping the library’s building up and running.

Friends of Tellico Village Public Library is a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the support of the library. Its members volunteer at the library and fundraise for building maintenance and upkeep.

“Tellico Village is pretty unique because we own the building,” said the nonprofit’s president, Cheryl LaMaster. “That’s very unusual. A public library is usually owned by an entity, such as a town, or a county, or something like that.”

The library deemed itself a “center for lifelong learning.” Library director, Carol DeForest, worked to keep people of all ages learning.

“We have programs all the time,” said DeForest. “Last month, we had nine. Coming up in March, we have another nine. It’s busy all the time.”

As we progress into the digital age, both LaMaster and DeForest said access to public libraries will always be important.

“I really don’t think that the physical space will ever go away, even though they talk about it because there are still a lot of people who enjoy the physical book, the actual ability to turn a page and to have a book in their hands,” said LaMaster.

To learn how to support the Tellico Village Public Library, click here.