Marie Illingworth, who lived near the Five Points area while a young child, and Ngina Blair, a former resident of the former KCDC Walter P. Taylor Homes, officially opened the library with a ribbon-cutting on Friday, Aug. 6 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley Five Points Club at 317 McConnell Street.
“We want to encourage positive activities for children in the community and having a place for kids to get books is one of those,” said Blair, who became active in the neighborhood’s resident association when she lived in the affordable housing community. “A Little Free Library to select books of interest is a perfect way to introduce more people to the joy of reading.”
Blair remains active in the community and is a charter member of the Five Points Taylor Homes Homecoming Committee. She met Illingworth through other shared volunteer activities, including the start of a community garden in Five Points. The two women partnered to open the free library, which will offer books for children and adults.
“Books are a doorway to the world,” Illingworth said. “I’m giving back the things I know helped me as a young person, and books were always front and center of that. They were a survival tool and doorway to a whole world I could never have dreamed of without them.”
The Five Points Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley serves the East Knoxville community.
“We want to especially thank Marie and Ngina for taking the initiative to open a Little Free Library,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “Both women realize the need for a neighborhood to come together and approached KCDC about an on-site library. I’m hopeful that greater access to books will provide one more resource to help children build early literacy skills that are so important to their future academic success.”
The top shelf of the Little Free Library is reserved for an assortment of books for adult readers, the two lower shelves are for a variety of children’s books.
There is a Facebook page, 5PointsLibrary where participants can make comments, questions, and can donate gently used books. To communicate directly, email [email protected]. Book requests will be added to the Amazon wishlist.
Broaden your horizons without leaving your community, visit a Little Free Library.
KCDC properties with Little Libraries also include Western Heights and Lonsdale Homes. KCDC is seeking individual, corporate, or organization donors to add Little Libraries at Autumn Landing, Montgomery Village, Nature’s Cove, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista. Several KCDC properties focused on the elderly and disabled, Cagle Terrace and Northgate Terrace, maintain indoor libraries and are in need of donations and assistance in maintaining those larger collections. For information on how to support or volunteer with a Little Library on a KCDC property email KCDC Dir. of Policy and Partnerships Marisa Moazen at [email protected].