Fentress County Public Library Receives Major State Grant For Expansion

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) is pleased to announce a new $100,000 state grant has been awarded to expand the Fentress County Public Library. Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented the grant with Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) during a check presentation on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

The library’s footprint is currently 5,500 square feet, but the proposed expansion would add an additional 2,250 square feet to create a new children’s area as well as new staff workspace.

An addition will give the children’s collection 2,000 new square feet of space, while the existing children’s area will offer librarians more shelf space to expand book and audio visual collections as well as add two new computer workstations.

“This is an investment in Fentress County that promotes reading and education that will pay Tennesseans back for generations,” said Secretary Hargett. "I am so pleased this grant will benefit a library system that is so important to the community it serves."

The existing children’s area includes 14 computers, but weekly story times, the summer reading program and other events can make it difficult for patrons trying to use the computers. Library staff is generally forced to block off workstations, while attempting to make room for more than 100 people attending programs.

“This generous grant will ensure Fentress County has a new, dedicated space for children to foster a love of reading, while creating more room for people who access library computers,” said Sen. Yager. “There is no doubt this expansion will be vital when you consider the space librarians work within now.”

"This money could have gone to any Tennessee county, which is why I truly appreciate Secretary Hargett ensuring that the people of Fentress County have a library that fosters learning and offers increased access to precious public resources,” said Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

The number of people using the Fentress County Public Library continues to grow. In 2014, there were more than 152,000 visits to the facility. There are currently more than 8,000 library cardholders, which is nearly half of the county’s population.

TSLA is awarding the $100,000 grant to fund a portion of the estimated $355,800 project. The balance will come from Fentress County as well as a substantial donation from the estate of the late Wilma Pinckley.

"I am so thankful TSLA chose Fentress County to receive such an important grant that I know will be used to better the lives of every person who uses the library," said Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown).