Collegedale, TN - Serving as gateways to knowledge and culture, public libraries play a fundamental role in a community. Their role was tested when the March 2020 Covid outbreak brought unprecedented challenges, especially to the Public Library in Collegedale. For an institution that claims part of its purpose as providing a communal space for people to interact around information, the library staff had to work feverishly to devise new methods to communicate and safely provide services for its patrons.
Then in the late evening hours of Sunday, April 17, the infamous Easter tornado struck the city. While Collegedale experienced costly but relatively minor damage compared to the devastation a few miles away, the Public Library did take a big hit, losing part of its roof with the contents inside destroyed. The majority of the books ruined (324), were the young adult selection at an estimated value of $5,526. In all, a total of 534 books were damaged at a cost of $10,832.
The City of Collegedale worked diligently to get the repairs to the roof completed. The Friends of Collegedale Public Library then donated funds to replace some of the bestseller adult fiction and nonfiction books, but getting the funds to replace the young adult books would take time.
After submitting a proposal, the Friends of Collegedale Public Library received a $5,000 grant from the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation to begin replacing the destroyed young adult books. Thanks to the grant, books like “The Hunger Games” and “Warriors” along with “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” are now back on the shelves.
"I really appreciate the generosity of the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation to the Friends of Collegedale Public Library,” said Natalie Wright, Director of Collegedale Public Library. “It's important to us at the library to have a well-rounded collection of Teen books to both prevent summer slump and provide reading opportunities year round.”
Although Covid precautions continue to restrict anyone from browsing the books inside the library, books can be checked out curbside. Library members can call the library or sign in to the online catalog and place holds on the books for check out.
The Collegedale Library is also hosting virtual teen events most Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. The events range from craft or art projects, games, informational sessions, or the new “Adulting” series where teens can learn an adult skill not typically taught in school. Craft videos are archived on Facebook at: https://fb.watch/3ysmykzuZf/.The Friends of Collegedale Public Library are still raising money for the Tornado Relief Fund. The goal is $10,000, and with the Weldon F. Osborne grant, they are more than halfway there. Donations go to the “Friends of Collegedale Public Library” and can be dropped off at the library. Or donate online at www.collegedalepubliclibrary.org/friends.