Q&A: Anabel Lino, Friends of the Knox County Public Library’s Book Drive

In Q&As, Words With… by Rose Kennedyleave a COMMENT

Anabel Lino is event chair for the Friends of the Knox County Public Library’s book drive to collect new or like-new children’s books to include in holiday baskets from the Knoxville News Sentinel Empty Stocking Fund. People can donate gift-quality books at any KCPL location or at Union Ave Books through Nov. 30, or donate for others to shop for the books online by sending a check or bookstore gift certificate to Friends of KCPL, 500 W. Church Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902.

What books do you need most?
We especially need chapter books for late elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Graphic novels would be highly prized. Another area of need is board books for infants and toddlers.

Do recipients have to celebrate Christmas to participate in empty stocking?
No, they don’t have to celebrate Christmas—we provide books regardless of their beliefs.

Whose idea was the book drive?
Every year, the Empty Stocking Fund provides foods and toys for thousands of families in need. FOL’s goal is that along with a toy, children receive a book for the holidays, or maybe two! The ESF book drive began in 2008. Before FOL’s involvement, the KNS received most of the books from Borders. After Borders closed, FOL representatives met with KNS and it was agreed that FOL would gather books in community book drives to cover the donations that had come from Borders in the past.

How will you define success?
FOL would define success as 3,000 books delivered to children this holiday. This is the first year we are encouraging the entire community to participate on this worthy cause for our children.

What are the restrictions on used books?
They should be gift-quality books—no signs of tears, no scribbles.

Do you have a favorite book you will contribute?
Yes, my favorite is the Little Engine That Could.

What kind of books would FOL buy with donations?
FOL has a list of appropriate books that we’ll use to make those purchases, and anyone interested in donating or buying for their own family and friends can find a list on the FOL website. We do have an anonymous donor who is matching the first $200 of cash donations.

How will the books be distributed?
Books will be distributed on Dec. 23 at the Jacobs Building. There will be many great volunteers helping parents to choose age-appropriate books for their children from the books we’ll have, which range from birth to high school level.

How did you get involved with FOL?
Through Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that helps the Hispanic community—I also served on the board of Centro and last year, Centro and FOL got together to create Centro’s library. 

Did you like picture books as a child? Did anyone read to you?
Yes, I liked pictures books as a child and I keep loving them. I have an 18-month-old son who I like to read to every night. We love reading the book El Leon, el Elefante y el Dromedario (The Lion, the Elephant, and the Dromedary) because it is very entertaining and educational. It is about this lion that got his mane by overcoming his fear of fire, the elephant that got his trunk by being curious, and the dromedary that got his back because he was lazy.

Do you have some tips for buying books for kids who aren’t Empty Stocking Fund recipients?
Anything that is interesting to both the children and their parents, because the parents will need to read to them to allow them to develop a passion for books.

Is there any merit in giving a kid a nonfiction book as a gift?
I see the value of both a nonfiction and fiction. Fiction allows children to expand their mind and dreams and nonfiction allows us to learn facts, history—anything we want.

For more information or to make an online donation: knoxfriends.org

Corrected 11/5/15: We misspelled Anabel Lino’s first name.

Rose Kennedy

Rose Kennedy came to Knoxville to work as an editorial assistant on 13-30’s Retail Appliance Management Series and never saw a reason to leave. Her “so uncool I’m cool” career among the alt weekly newspaper crowd has led to award-winning articles on Dr. Bill Bass and the Body Farm and cyber-bullying at West High School, and treasonous food columns about preferring unsweet tea and feeling ambivalent about biscuits.

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