BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
This Saturday will present a rare opportunity at the Greeneville-Greene County Public Library.
Everyone will be able to talk at more than a whisper.
That's because, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., the library will be celebrating its 105th birthday.
This year officially marks 100 years that the local library has been a public facility and 105 years since the first book made its way onto a Greene County shelf to be shared among a group.
"Our community is very fortunate to have had a public library for over a century. Few other counties in the state or region can make such a claim," said Director Don Miller.
"Both as director of the library and as a citizen, I am honored to be part of this celebration. Many thanks to the dozens of supporters who have given so generously to help make this event a reality."
The program for the event stars guest speaker Secretary of State Tre Hargett, whose department oversees all public libraries in the state.
Also scheduled for Saturday will be special presentations by friends and supporters of the library, refreshments, and live music by The Smooth Sounds of Route 66.
State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, will be present as a special visitor, according to the program.
SOME BASIC NUMBERS
More than 20,000 people borrowed materials from the library in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the most recent year for which statistical data is available through the Tennessee Public Library Survey.
The Tennessee Regional Library System requires this survey as a tool for planning and budgeting at both the local and state level, according to Miller.
The survey data also notes that the library had nearly 87,000 visits during 2011-2012.
At that time, the collection included:
* 56,000 printed materials,
* 1,700 audio materials,
* 1,800 video materials, and
* 2,000 microforms.
There were more than 17,000 adults who altogether borrowed items more than 77,000 times.
More than 5,000 children borrowed items a total of nearly 22,000 times, accordng to the survey data.
There were also nearly 2,500 times that the library allowed patrons to borrow items from other libraries within the network and nearly another 5,000 times that the library loaned books to other libraries' patrons.
This inter-library loan system is one of many services that the local library offers.
Other services include the Regional E-Book and Audiobook Download System (READS), which is free to library cardholders.
Free to Tennessee residents with computer access is the Tennessee Electronic Library.
Services also include:
* wireless Internet access,
* Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Boat Safety Exam;
* free access to Ancestry.com;
* weekly storytime hour for pre-schoolers and other young readers;
* the Summer Reading Program;
* free computer classes offered several times a week;
* book discussion groups, sponsored by Friends of the Library; and,
* special collections available at the T. Elmer Cox Genealogical Library, a branch of the public library, including materials relating to local history and genealogy as well as an extensive archive of county records dating to 1780.