Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

November 21, 2013

Big Lick welcomes Little Free Library

CROSSVILLE — The trees on the property of Calvary Presbyterian Church of Big Lick have stood witness to several changes in the community throughout the years. The latest took place earlier this month in the form of two cabinets nestled under the trees' large branches. Although it's a small addition, it is part of a larger movement that is sweeping the world and carrying on a community tradition.

Called a Little Free Library, it is the first of its kind in Cumberland County. It's a "take a book, return a book" gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, it is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book and bring back another to share.

"This is a community – not a church – library..." said Big Lick resident Judy Venable. "It is open to anyone and everyone. Once we send notice of our opening, we will be on the website ( and then others from near and far will be able to easily find it."

The Little Free Library movement began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, WI, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it, and soon Bol started building several more and giving them away.

Rick Brooks of Madison, WI, whom Bol met at a seminar on promoting green practices and a vibrant local economy for Hudson, entered the picture as a colleague exploring potential social enterprises. The two saw opportunities to achieve a wide variety of goals for the common good.

With a mission that includes promoting literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide, the two men set a goal of building 2,510 Little Free Libraries (as many as Andrew Carnegie had funded around the turn of the 20th century) and to keep going, promoting reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world. With no startup or operating capital, no office or paid staff, the concept evolved into an enterprise reaching communities far beyond Bol's front yard next to the St. Croix River in Hudson. It is conservatively estimated that by January, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries will be between 10,000 and 12,000, with thousands more being built.

"We are No. 7,597!" stated Venable.

Venable, who has lived in Big Lick for a little more than a year, helped to bring the movement to Cumberland County. After reading an "American Profile" article about the libraries in March, she brought the idea to the ruling body of Calvary Presbyterian Church of Big Lick at the corner of Vandever and Dunbar Roads.

"The church is really the center of the community," said Venable, adding that it is one of the few significant structures from the community's heyday. "I didn't know any of the history of the book mobile at that point."

This particular Little Free Library pays tribute to Albert and Verdie Hall, who were members of the church.

"Mr. Hall was the postmaster for Big Lick until 1955 when he retired..." said Venable. "The post office was in his store, which serviced the community with staples and often ran the barter system. For a time they had the only telephone in the area, and their home was the 'test' house for electricity in the area."

In addition, the family was in charge of a local book mobile during the '50s and '60s in their home at the corner of Vandever Rd. and Hwy. 127. Book mobiles were a big deal back then, Venable noted, as they gave everyone access to books when the main libraries were too far away.

"The regional library at the time was the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute Regional Library. In the '50s and '60s, they would bring books to the house and would take back the books that they delivered previously. No one could tell me how often they came... to swap out the books...," Venable explained.

Ella Hall Wilson, the youngest of the Halls' seven children, also couldn't remember when the Big Lick book mobile started because her family always had books in their house. However, she thought her parents would be pleased with the little library that sits a mile from where the book mobile was once housed.

A special dedication ceremony for the Little Free Library was held Sunday, Nov. 3, after the morning service. After a brief history of Big Lick and a blessing, Venable called on Betty Beattie and Loreda Davis to unwrap the adult portion of the library. As avid readers who already exchange stacks of books with each other, they happily obliged. Landen and Parker Wilson, the Halls' great-great-grandchildren and budding booklovers, were called on to open the children’s box.

"Let the reading begin," Venable said.

Text Only
Area News
  • Shop tax free this weekend

    With the return to school right around the corner and Cumberland County students set to return to classrooms Aug. 6, Tennesseans are reminded they can buy certain items without paying sales tax Aug. 1 through Aug. 3.

    July 30, 2014

  • state park bath house.jpg Historic CMSP bathhouse gets new use with renovation

    When a new pool was constructed at Cumberland Mountain State Park in the 1980s, the beach area was converted to a quiet place to watch the water and the bath house was boarded up.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cole dismissed from teaching position

    The Cumberland County Board of Education voted 8-1 to dismiss tenured special education teacher Stephanie Cole, who remains at the Cumberland County Jail without bond charged with the July 20 fatal shooting of Louis Tammaro Jr.

    July 29, 2014

  • Crash sends one to jail, cyclist to UT

    A crash involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck resulted in one man being flown to a regional trauma center and the second man being arrested after he fled the scene, Crossville Police reported.

    July 29, 2014

  • County to include more meeting info on web site

    Cumberland County commissioners approved a change in the commission's rules which requires the full package of materials supplied to the commissioners to be posted on the county's web site.

    July 29, 2014

  • jobless june.jpg County jobless rate up for June

    County unemployment rates for June 2014 show the rate increased in all 95 counties of Tennessee. In Cumberland County, the jobless rate rose from 7.4 percent in May to 8.3 percent for June.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • lver-greg morris.jpg New veterans rep joins Career Center staff

    The Tennessee Career Center in Crossville now has more resources available to assist veterans seeking employment. The center recently hired Gregory Morris as a local veterans employment representative (LVER) to work with both unemployed veterans as well as employers seeking job applicants.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richard Lemert.jpg Lemert pays visit to Crossville

    Richard Milo Lemert, (left) great nephew of Milo Lemert of Crossville, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, is pictured with L.T. Thurman Jr. It was Richard Lemert's first visit to Crossville and during his brief stay, he stopped by the Milo Lemert Building on Main St. and viewed the plaque that was placed in honor of his great uncle. Milo Lemert was married to Nell Snodgrass of Crossville and was killed in action on their first wedding anniversary. Thurman's father, Litton T. Thurman Sr., received the Distinguished Service Cross in the same WWI battle that Lemert was awarded the nation's highest honor. Richard Lemert resides in Raleigh, NC, and is planning to attend the Medal of Honor Convention in Knoxville Sept. 10-13.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2558.jpg Understanding the structure of addiction and recovery

    Bradford Health Services hosted a free workshop Friday for area agencies on the structure of addiction and recovery. Robbie Keeble who is recovery liaison for Bradford, was the featured speaker. With rates of substance abuse so prevalent in the Crossville area, several local agencies arranged to instruct participants on how addiction works in the brain and the process that those struggling with addiction need to take in order to recover successfully. There were 94 attendees in all, including several social service agencies, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, businesses and concerned citizens. If you are interested in attending or hosting a future training on matters related to substance abuse, contact Bradford Health Services at (931) 528-6803.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • TMSAA rules get one-year try out

    Changes are coming for the elementary sports programs next year, with a 6-3 vote of the Cumberland County Board of Education. That vote of support of recommendations from the athletic committee was met with concerns from board members that the move towards county-wide rules and regulations was an attempt to move toward middle school teams.

    July 28, 2014 1 Video

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014