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Regional Libraries



 Buffalo River Region   Clinch River Region   Falling Water River Region
  Hatchie River Region   Holston River Region   Obion River Region
  Ocoee River Region   Red River Region   Stones River Region


Tennessee’s Regional Library System has been in existence since 1939. Its mission is:

  • to assist local governments and public libraries in the development and improvement of public library services,
  • to assist libraries in the selection, maintenance and use of library technologies,
  • to provide supplementary library materials and digital content to member public libraries and to facilitate the preparation of materials for public use (cataloging & processing),
  • to facilitate the sharing of resources between and among libraries through a delivery system and opportunities to participate in shared automation systems and,
  • to provide continuing education to local library staff and trustees.

The Regional Library System is composed of nine multi-county regions serving 211 small and medium-sized public libraries throughout the state of Tennessee. Membership in the Regional Library System is voluntary. The four metropolitan library systems (Memphis Public Library, Knox County Library, Nashville Public Library, and the Chattanooga- Hamilton County Bicentennial Public Library) are considered single-county regions.

State assistance received by local public libraries through the Regional Library System is intended to supplement local appropriations as required in the establishment of public libraries by the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 10, Chapter 3. In return for State assistance, each public library desiring to belong to the Multi-County Regional system must maintain “the allocation of locally appropriated funds at a level not less than the amount appropriated the last fiscal year as well as the expenditure of locally appropriated funds at a level not less than the total amount expended in the last fiscal year.” Annual Maintenance of Effort agreements between the State Library and Archives and local cities and counties make certain that State funding does not supplant the fiscal responsibility of local governments on behalf of their public libraries.

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