Grab a book and some coffee at the Bookmark Cafe

"We have children in here all the time, all sorts of activities, so it's just a happy place to work," Karen Hamm said. She works at the Blount County Public Library at the Bookmark Cafe.

The cafe concept is something library director Kathy Pagles embraces.

"Instead of sneaking in something from outside and thinking that the library police are going to get them why not make it available and encourage people to use the library like they use their home," she said.

No problem combining books, cookies, and coffee. They're pretty relaxed about the possibility of spills.

"There was no more danger of it happening here than it as at anybody's kitchen table. What we do worry about it the floor so we ask people if they spill let us know so we can clean it up right away," Pagles said.

Hamm said, "You can take it anywhere in the library so if you're a student studying for tests of whatever you can come in and hang out and get caffeinated."

The Bookmark Cafe can hang its hat on a perfect 100 score from the Health Department.

"I about had a heart attack because that never happens. So it's a big deal," Hamm said.

It's a big deal for Kathy Pagles to hire friendly folks for the cafe who also love books.

"It's sort of like running a bar some days because people want to come and talk but they want to talk about books so we need somebody who is library oriented in the cafe," she said.

Hamm said, "I love being in a beautiful library and I have fantastic customers who come and see me nearly every day."

Blount County Public Library is a place for good coffee, good sandwiches, and a good read.


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