By Bethany Anderson
Although Johnson County is in one of Tennessee’s smallest counties, more than half of the county’s population possesses a library card. “Our library is an invaluable resource in our community.” said library director, Linda Icenhour. Dedicated to the memory of one of Johnson County’s much-loved residents, the BK “Bud” Mount Digital Den is the newest addition to the local library. At the ribbon cutting ceremony in January 2019, Icenhour said, “The addition is a space to sit and read, study, do research, or work on their personal digital devices.”
Starting in July 2018 and completed in January 2019, the project includes a one-story addition, which incorporates a new reading room as well as an HVAC equipment room. Along with the new addition, the bathrooms were given new flooring and separate, multi-stall restrooms for men and women. These were some of the most needed for the library according to Icenhour.
The project as a whole has gone well as Icenhour shared, “We have had very few hiccups in the construction such as a debris field under the concrete where the flagpole stood and the wrong size water line running into the building. Corrections were made at minimal cost for the debris field and for the replacement of the water line, the Town of Mountain City very generously replaced it at no cost to us.”
“When we began the project, we wanted to build a room to give those patrons wanting to use their own devices a nice, clean, comfortable place to come and also to make it a reading and reference room.”
According to library staff, the central part of the library can get quite noisy from time to time, so a quiet space was needed.During the architectural phase of the project, it was discovered that the restroom facilities did not meet building code.
“This drove the cost of the project up,” said Icenhour. “We have raised money, and a very special benefactor has donated a large sum of money. We have also received grant monies and currently have approximately $230,000 in the bank. However, we find we are $40,000 below what we actually need.”
According to Icenhour, at the beginning of the project, the plans called for a slab, a wall, and a roof. “The architect couldn’t make that happen the way we envisioned it. We ended up with three walls, a slab, and a roof,” she added. The contractor was able to review the plans, and some changes were made, reducing the cost of the expansion by $10,000.
Throughout the expansion project, the library saw help and support from many in the community, and they are incredibly grateful to all who helped make the improvements possible. “Of course, Kathleen Mount has been our biggest benefactor and our greatest champion on this project and past projects,” said Icenhour.
“We could not have done it without her and the support she has always shown for this library. She stood and fought at difficult times in this county when the hospital and Burlington closed to make sure this county had a library. And I’m thankful for the support of the entire community, whether they purchased a brick for $100 or a bookplate for $1 every single dollar we have raised went into this new addition. This county should be proud of its library. It’s well used and thanks to the great assistants and awesome volunteers I have, it’s well run. We have a great board of directors and a terrific, Friends of the Library group. Also, I’m thankful for the grants we were able to obtain through Tennessee State Library and Archives and Louis Trivette with the USDA for making this addition come to fruition.”
For more information on the BK “Bud” Mount Digital Den or the rest of the library’s many features, you can stop by the Johnson County Library located at 219 N Church Street in Mountain City, check their website at johnsoncolib.org or call them at 423-727-6544.