Middlesboro Bell County Public Library

photo courtesy Rebecca Brackmann
  • County Population: approx. 27,000
  • Bell County library visits last year: 102,000 (55,000 to this branch)
  • In-library computer use: 12,000
  • Library wi-fi sessions: 21,000
Jeanna Cornett, Bell County Library Director
photo courtesy Rebecca Brackman


“When I was a girl, we would drive through Middlesboro and my Daddy would say that people set out to build a town here just because it was so beautiful. There are real struggles here right now, especially with opioid addiction. The region is at a pivotal moment, where we have to decide whether we’re going to commit to change—from within the community—or just accept the “new normal.” We’re still trying to slow the spread of substance abuse, and we’re probably ten years from actually reversing overdose rates. But I dream about a future where we make plans and we don’t have to take addiction into consideration.”

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