Kingsport City Schools

Johnson Elementary’s Free Little Libraries

We are Community…

Free Little Libraries     Free Little Library 3     Free Little Library 2

Ask any teacher or librarian (or student, for that matter) for their top tips on how to become a better reader, and having access to high quality reading materials is sure to be high on the list. But what can be done to help make sure that this actually takes place, especially outside the walls of the school itself?

The students and staff at Johnson Elementary have taken this to heart and decided to take a proactive step to help make reading materials more available to those in their community by building “Free Little Libraries.” A little larger than a mailbox, these are constructed and placed in neighborhood areas so that children and families can have quick and 24/7 access to books when they can’t get to a school or public library. Community members can simply borrow the books from the Free Little Library and return them when they are finished reading. And as the name suggests, there is no charge to have access to these books… The entire program works on the honor system.

Principal Stacy Edwards, librarian Rebecca Thomasson, and the staff at Johnson continue to collect books to place in the Free Little Libraries, with the first being located in the Miller Village community. A second Free Little Library will be placed outside of Johnson Elementary, which will help serve the surrounding neighborhood when the school library is not accessible in the evenings or when school is not in session. This has truly been a community project, as students, families, and school staff have all worked to find materials and bring this venture to life.

It’s a concept that is quickly taking hold all across Kingsport.  The Kingsport Public Library has one at the library and one on Bays Mountain.  Lincoln Elementary expects to have five in place by this fall.  Jackson Elementary should have two in their community by the end of the school year.  With Johnson’s leadership, access to quality reading materials throughout our community is greater than ever.

What a great example of a group that looks beyond working to just provide what students need at school, and has their eye on supporting the entire surrounding community even when the school day is done. The new Free Little Libraries will support all children in the Johnson area, both young and old, by fostering a culture of literacy, trust, and shared purpose. Hats off to the children, staff, and families of Johnson Elementary for dreaming big, even with the product is “Little”!

We are community… We are KCS.

“We Are KCS” is ready to launch!

We have a story to tell…

Is this really the time of year to start something new?

To those of us in the education world, late spring is often seen as the time when students and teachers are beginning to build to the inevitable year-end conclusions… end-of-year exams, graduation, summer vacation. Honestly, the sights are often set more on the finish line than they are on beginning a new venture.

But for most, this time of year is a time of rebirth, renewal, and growth. Warming temperatures and blooming nature serve as an annual reminder that we should always move forward, always look to improve, and always seek ways to take advantage of new opportunities.

Today, we mark the launch of “We Are KCS.” Often lost in this current age of accountability, data, and sound-byte news, is the realization that Kingsport City Schools is made up of over 8,500 students and staff members with amazing stories to tell. Each and every day, the people of KCS are accomplishing great things as we strive to learn, grow, and become world class in all that we do.

In the coming weeks and months, We Are KCS will help paint the complete picture of Kingsport City Schools. This venture will go beyond the headlines and explore what is happening in our classrooms, schools, and community. In Kingsport, we are blessed to have so many positive stories to tell, and We Are KCS will help serve as the platform to share that message.  I hope you will follow us at

I am excited to shine the spotlight on all that is great about our school system and to share the accomplishments of the students and KCS employees that have dedicated themselves to excellence in all they do. The examples are endless, and I hope you will be inspired by all the great KCS Stories that we have to tell.

We have a story to tell… We are KCS!