October 15, 2019 —Before Kendal at Lexington even opened its doors, there was a plan to establish a library for residents. Over the years, the Tutwiler Library and its subsequent satellite locations have grown to house around 7,100 books. For the members of the library committee, keeping up the collection is a labor of love.
“I just love libraries and love books,” says Kathy Holmes, the current library committee chair. “I’m not trained as a librarian, but a number of people on the committee have had experience.”
While Kathy has only headed the library committee for just over two years, a dedicated group has long since worked to ensure ample reading material is available and organized for Kendal residents. Here’s a little more about what they do and how you can get involved.
Behind the Scenes With the KaLex Library Committee
Nearly all of the books in the Tutwiler Library were donated — primarily as a result of incoming residents downsizing their personal libraries. However, due to space issues, the library committee often has to turn down book donations or redirect them to another source, such as the public library or the university libraries.
“We have a lot of books already,” Kathy says. “So what we do is ask people to let us know what they have that they’d like to donate.”
Depending on the genre or subject and how well it is already represented in the Tutwiler collection, the committee will either accept or decline the donation. Occasionally, donated books that aren’t a good fit will be put aside for the next used book sale — another initiative that the library committee heads up.
However, even though space is limited, the committee is constantly reevaluating their selection and organizational methods. “We refer to it as ‘culling books’,” Kathy explains. “We go through [the books] and if something is either so old it’s falling apart or it seems that no one is really interested in it, we either remove it or put it in the used book sale.”
Beyond organizing the collection and processing donations, the other main task of the library committee is purchasing memorial books after a resident passes away. “We usually talk to the family, if we can, about what kind of book that person would have liked to have,” Kathy says.
Checking Out Books at Tutwiler Library
The book selection at Tutwiler Library is open to everyone in the Kendal community and operates on an honor system. The main desk in Anderson houses a sign out book and Kathy describes the library activity as “a constant give and take.”
“This community really does value reading and learning and sharing ideas. I think the library is well used,” she says.
While the main Tutwiler Library contains most of the fiction and nonfiction books, the satellite libraries are organized by various topics, with a master list in the main library detailing where each subtopic is located.
Creating a Welcoming Entrance to the Kendal Community
When residents, prospective residents or visitors enter the main entrance of Kendal at Lexington, the Tutwiler Library gives an unofficial welcome to our curious, engaged community.
As director of marketing Jessica Buhler explains, “The library is intentionally designed to have an open concept and act as the main entrance to the community, and the beauty and home-like feel truly makes a statement. Many fall in love with Kendal at Lexington from that first moment they enter.”
So, book lovers rejoice: we have plenty of reading material just waiting to welcome you home.
(Originally published in the VISTA Newsletter- Issue One)