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North Knoxville

A free little library ‘walks into’ Lonsdale

Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News

On Thursday, September 22, members of the Knoxville Community Development Corporation, The Christman Company, and child literacy enthusiasts met in Lonsdale to cut the ribbon for the community’s first Small Free Library (LFL).

Built in the shape of a bright yellow construction truck, it’s one of the most attractive LFLs in town. “I’ve seen a lot of LFLs and this is the coolest I’ve ever seen,” said KCDC CEO Ben Bentley. “My expectations for a great world-class contractor are undiminished.”

Founded in 1894, the award-winning Christman Company is one of the nation’s leading professional building services firms. In 2021, the company formalized its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program by forming a dedicated DEI committee representing diverse members from across regions The five states of the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Mid-Atlantic by Christman.

Tori Knight, Knoxville Area Project Accountant and DEI Council Representative, said: “The DEI Council came up with the idea of ​​using these LFLs to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday across the company’s footprint. In Lonsdale, we support and allow more than 280 children in. “

KCDC's newest small free library in the Lonsdale neighborhood is a brightly colored construction truck. This is fitting as it is the result of a partnership with award-winning construction services firm The Christman Company.  September 22, 2022.

How did this peculiar design come about and how was it done? As it turns out, Christman’s employees aren’t just for big construction projects; they’re great for smaller ones, too. Randy Merritt, regional business development manager in Christman, Tennessee, is a woodworking hobbyist who got busy in his woodworking shop after the committee had the idea to build a construction truck. What about the paint job? “We did it,” Knight said with a smile.​​​ “We’ve been working on this for months.”

“We are fortunate to have great people and great partners within the company,” said Marty Gibbs, senior vice president and general manager of the Knoxville business unit. Just broad talent. It’s been fun to be able to use these talents to give back to our community and be a community support agent. It’s exciting for us and we love the opportunity. “

KCDC's newest small free library in the Lonsdale neighborhood is a brightly colored construction truck. This is fitting as it is the result of a partnership with award-winning construction services firm The Christman Company.  September 22, 2022.

Then, of course, the “truck” would be stuffed with reading material. Bentley said: “We know that sometimes it can be very expensive to get quality books into the hands of children in our community. We want to make sure they are available Not having a book cannot be a hindrance to learning. This would be a wonderful step towards that goal. Half of the people who live here are children. They will be able to walk across the street, pick up a book, put down a book, and change. So it would be a wonderful facility.

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