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Johnson County Library breaks ground on third expansion project

Library Groundbreaking
Johnson County Community Foundation Advisory Board with 2018 Grant Award Winners. Photo by Samantha Amick at the recent awards ceremony at the Johnson County Public Library in Mountain City. Photo by Samantha Amick.

By Jinifer Rae

The Johnson County Library held a much-anticipated groundbreaking ceremony last week, to commemorate the start of construction for its long awaited new addition. While some come to the library expecting a quiet time, with more than 50,000 visitors each year, the facility, can be a bustling place prompting patrons to eagerly anticipate the completion of the building’s newest expansion.

Last October, JCPL has received a $100,000 Library Construction Grant from the Tennessee State Library and Archives toward the expansion of its current facility. The help of the grant gave library staff the opportunity to make plans for the nearly $300,000 project to create an approximately 1,150 square feet addition at the front of the building, which will provide a much-needed and necessary, usable area. The existing building currently houses stack areas, offices, restrooms, and a limited reading area; however according to library officials, additional space is needed for an adequate Reading Room.

The proposed one story addition will incorporate a new reading room and an HVAC equipment room. The addition will be a reading and reference room with tables around so people can work in a quiet space,” said Library Director, Linda Icenhour, adding that at the beginning of the project, plans called for a slab, a wall and a roof.

“But things have changed,” she said. “The architect couldn’t make that happen the way we envisioned it so we ended up with three walls, a slab and a roof. The contractor was able to review the plans, and some changes were made, which also reduced the cost of the expansion by $10,000.”

No renovations of the interior of the existing building are included in the finalplan, but roof adjustments are necessary to integrate the new addition. The recent groundbreaking also received a monetary donation from another generous benefactor.

“Kathleen Mount not only donated the money, but as a 30-year board member, she has been the backbone of the library for many years,” Icenhour said.

While it is in one of Tennessee’s smallest counties, reportedly more than half of the population possesses a library card.

“Our library is an invaluable resource in our community,” said Icenhour. “This facility continues to be busy with a constant daily flow of library patrons.”

To sum up the bottom line of the project she said, “This expansion project, will greatly improve and accommodate the growing number of our residents who enjoy and rely on the library to meet their needs.”

The library is also selling bricks for at $100 apiece that can be purchased in memory or in honor of someone. Individual smaller donations are also welcome. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

For more information about JCPL please visit www.johnsoncolib.org.