Nonprofit Spotlight: Radford Public Library | Atmos Energy

Nonprofit Spotlight: Radford Public Library

Nonprofit Spotlight
May 2, 2022

The Radford Public Library’s mission is to educate, enlighten, and enrich the Radford community. Founded in 1941, the first Radford Public Library collection began with 7,000 books and today provides more than 75,000 literary resources 

Atmos Energy began its partnership with the Radford Public Library in Sept. 2021 inspired by the library’s extraordinary participation in Atmos Energy’s Chalk It Up to Safe Digging contest. Focused on Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities, Atmos Energy supported the launch of the Radford Public Library’s inaugural 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program launched in Nov. 2021.   

Director Elizabeth Sensabaugh is clearly passionate about the Radford Public Library, its patrons, and the entire Radford community,” said Christina Christiansen, Atmos Energy manager of public affairs. “Excited to begin our partnership, I asked if there were any programs the library was hoping to start but for which they may lack funding. Immediately, Ms. Sensabaugh offered the chance to support the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program. 

This partnership commenced a trending community effort to engage parents in reading 1,000 books before their child begins kindergarten. Through Atmos Energy’s donation, the Radford Public Library was able to provide hundreds of Badge Books and Prize Books as incentives to participate in the program filled with stickers and activities 

At Atmos Energy, we believe in making a difference in the lives of children by providing resources that help children read at grade level by third grade,” added Christiansen. “We are proud to report that the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program currently has more than 100 children enrolled.”  

Adding to the Radford Public Library’s inaugural events, Atmos Energy supported a series of presentations to host author Daniel Nayeri. These presentations included sharing his first autobiographical novel, Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story), with hundreds of Radford University and Radford City High School students, inspiring words to hundreds of secondary and elementary level students on the act of kindness, and a cooking event offering Persian dishes for the community to sample 

“Our library is more than a general center of reliable information; we strive to promote an enlightened citizenship and enrich our communities’ lives,” said Elizabeth Sensabaugh, Radford Public Library director. “Atmos Energy’s generosity has supported innovative events and the continued exposure to educational opportunities for hundreds of students of all ages. 

As the Radford community’s connection to literature, technology training, and accessible space for community meetings and socialization, the Radford Public Library is also an incredible resource for local schools. In partnership with Radford City Public Schools, churches, and service organizations, the Radford Public Library offered its support to the Bobcat Backpack Program. This program provides weekend food for approximately 150 students each week during the school year plus snacks for their school pantries. 

Bobcat Backpacks Program co-founder, Jenny Riffe, confirmed the approximate cost for the weekend food bags during the school year is about $1,350 per week for 150 students,” added Sensabaugh. “To ensure this program was offered throughout the summer, Atmos Energy stepped in to fund the entire Bobcat Backpacks Program and supported weekend bags to approximately 30 students per week. Their significant donation supported the program’s ability to provide nutritious meals and snacks. 

To learn more about the Radford Public Library please visit, radfordva.gov/Library.