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BREAKING NEWS: County Library Director Janice Keck dies unexpectedly

Williamson County Library Director Janice Keck, who had served in that role and overseen the expansion of the system with branches throughout the county, died Sunday after suffering some type of medical emergency after work Friday in her Franklin home.

Keck, known as a supporter of the written word and all things artistic, is survived by her daughter Julia Keck Price.

"Janice will be sorely missed, not only by her family and friends, but by this entire community. There will be a void by her absence that will be very difficult to fill. Janice dedicated her life to the library, the arts, the written word and the betterment of our community," said Mary Herring, Williamson County Library Board of Trustees chair. "On any given week, the list of adult and children's programs was long and varied, thanks to Janice. Library patrons reaped the benefits of her long-time friendships and involvement in local civic clubs, book clubs, children and youth organizations, thus exposing the community to a wide variety of free concerts, workshops and  educational events. The Board of Trustees owes Janice a debt of gratitude, and we will miss her friendship, expertise and camaraderie. So, we are filled with sadness at her passing, but let us also be filled with gratitude for her many years of service to the patrons, supporters and staff of Williamson County Public Library."

As word spread of her death, friends and community leaders expressed their shock, several saying they had talked to Keck on Friday, either at the WAKM AM-950 radio show from the Franklin Transit Authority that morning or during the day.

"Janice was one of the founders of our Williamson County Council For The Written Word in 1995, always making sure that she was current and helpful with all of our involvment, be it helping bring great talent such as speakers, teachers or just great literary conversations and discussions to the library. She was our No. 1 promoter of whatever event that we were planning," said Nancy Fletcher-Blume, a Williamson County author and personal friend of Keck.

Keck has been serving in the capacity as vice president for the CWW for two years, Fletcher Blume said. She was also serving as interim president of the Tennessee Writers Alliance, her friend said.

"Janice was a strong supporter of the arts and cultural events in Williamson County and always tried to work with organizations to bring them to the library," said Nancy Conway, Williamson County Franklin Chamber of Commerce president. "Her dedication to the community and the arts has improved the quality of life for every resident through a richer, more vibrant artistic community."

Keck was honored earlier this month during the African American Heritage Society Black Tie Affair for her support of the organization and its program, specifically the initiation and sponsorship of the Pioneer Family program since 1997.

"Janice was a good friend who enjoyed diversity in her life and worked to bring a wide range of programs to our county. I will miss her," AAHS President Tom Murdic said.

"Not only has the library and community friends, lost someone, who laid beautiful paths for those of us that struggled with their creativity, whether it be art or writing, but a friend who  always thought and acted on, it being better to give than receive," said Fletcher Blume.

"Janice was a remarkable woman who was passionate about our library and spent 32 years building and nurturing it. Under her direction, the library grew from one small building housing nothing but books to a five-branch system and community centerpiece offering Williamson County citizens and visitors a multitude of opportunities — from children's opera to chess for young adults and from taxpayer help to career advice," said Kay Bjork, president of the Friends of the Williamson County Library. "Our hearts go out to her family and to the Williamson County Library family. She will be sorely missed."

She was active in a number of organizations, including Sister Cities of Franklin & Williamson County and the Williamson County Arts Commission.

Keck is also survived by her mother, two sisters, and nephews. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on West Main Street in Franklin. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011, at St. Paul's with visitation one hour before. The Rev. Bob Cowperthwaite will officiate at the service.

Posted on: 2/20/2011


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