Chip Smith latest to be skewered at Library Roast

While he isn’t sure who he’s going to ask to do the “honors” and roast him, Smith said it will probably be a mix of both family and friends, and he’s going to aim for those with the least embarrassing stories to tell.

“I dread it, but you’re doing something good for the library,” Smith said.

The annual Roast raises a significant amount of money for the Wilson County Library System, which includes the Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown public libraries. Alesia Burnley, Wilson County library director, said the fund raiser helps pay for things that keep the libraries up to date. 

“It helps us raise money for things like new computers, fund matches for when we receive grants and a lot more,” Burnley said.

The Roast was started by Library Board member Stratton Bone in 1991 as a means to raise money for the libraries and have a good time and a lot of laughs in the process. The first well-known member of the community to be roasted was the late George Harding.

“Our library board selects someone who is prominent in the community,” Burnley said.

Between now and the Roast, Smith will have to choose those who will be roasting him on stage.

“Chip is well-known in the community, especially because of Rose Tire, and he’s lived here all his life,” Burnley said. Smith and his wife, Jan, have owned Rose Tire & Service since 2005.

Several years ago, Burnley said the libraries were able to fund a new circulation system because of the annual event, which allows citizens in Wilson County to use one library card for all three libraries.

“It really helps us with technology expenses, and keeping us up-to-date,” Burnley said. Money from the fund raiser also goes toward providing free wireless Internet access at the public libraries, new shelving and new furniture.

Smith said he’s a little anxious about being roasted in front of a crowd, and many of the people he’s asked to do the roasting are nervous as well, but the cause is definitely worth all the embarrassment.

“Sometimes you do things you may not want to do in order to help others,” Smith said.

Smith was to be announced as the subject of the Roast during the Coleman Walker Show early Wednesday morning on radio station WANT FM 98.9. The Roast will be catered by Jordan’s Catering in Lebanon and tickets can be purchased for $25 each.

You can purchase tickets now at all three public libraries and at Rose Tire & Service located at 1928 Leeville Pike in Lebanon. The Mt. Juliet Public Library is located at 2765 North Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet. The Lebanon Public Library is located at 108 South Hatton Ave. in Lebanon and the Watertown Public Library is located at 206 Public Square in Watertown.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at