Whew! What a year 2016 was. It’s fair to say that just about everyone is looking forward to 2017, with both hope and caution.

After all, who could have predicted the events of last year. (Yes, some claim now to have done so. Take them at their word, if you wish.)

This new year starts with people in a mood to shake things up, to make a difference, to initiate change that will make their lives better.

People also are looking to the past for guidance, while eyeing current events to find clues that foreshadow the times ahead.

Here’s a modest suggestion to start the new year. Why not take advantage of a resource that brings past, present and future together in one place — the Blount County Public Library.

Courtesy of the library staff, here’s a synopsis of what’s on tap for January:

While the library’s main gallery still echoes with the lovely sounds of holiday music performed at the library by local school choirs, now it’s time to welcome the new year in with new events.

One such event will be a snowman decorating contest for which you can win cash prizes. Another very special January event will be a free, shortened version of Puccini’s La Bohéme opera by the Knoxville Opera Company, in English.

The opera is sponsored by the Blount County Friends of the Library, who will also be conducting a fundraiser pre-owned book sale during three days of January.

There will also be a “Falls Prevention Tips” workshop as part of the Focus on Seniors series, “Tips for Public Speaking” as part of the “It’s Your Career” series, and Dr. Julie Reed, professor at UTK, will speak about “The Cherokee in Southern Appalachia” as part of the Appalachian Studies Series.

Of course, you can register for Microsoft computer classes or basic, introductory classes.

Teens can enjoy coding with the Nerd group, or Dungeons and Dragons, chess or gaming. And the Children’s Library has a full slate of story hours and special programs.

Start out your year 2017 by participating in a fun or educational event at the library! Happy New Year to you and your family from the staff at the library!

The staff at The Daily Times echoes that sentiment shared by the folks at the library and looks forward to 2017, come what may.

We are committed to keeping Blount Countians informed about what’s happening in their community. The news, including events large and small, is always paramount in our coverage 365 days a year.

We believe an informed populace is necessary to maintaining a vibrant democracy.

We will continue to share our opinions in this space and encourage readers to submit letters to the editor to share their views with fellow readers.

We will report on our governments, our schools, our churches, our businesses, our hospital, our sports, our courts, our law enforcement, our missions, our parks, our museums, our music, our recreation, our agriculture, our arts, our festivals, our civic activities, our glories, our agonies and more.

In short, whatever is news in this special community nestled between the Great Smokies and the mighty Tennessee River is important to us, because it is important to our readers individually and to the community as a whole.

Through our advertising efforts, we will encourage commerce and entrepreneurship throughout the county.

We also will continue to support community causes such as United Way, the Empty Pantry Fund, Family Promise and others.

The library — separated from the newspaper’s offices by Greenbelt Lake but linked by a pedestrian bridge and a belief in truth and knowledge — is one of those community resources.

As we look to the future, a couple of commentaries from the past still apply on this New Year’s Day 2017 — one from a founding father, another from a political columnist:

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” — Thomas Jefferson

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” — Walter Lippmann

Keep on reading, and have a Happy New Year!

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