Written by Jimmie Epling   

February Is Library Lovers Month!!

By Jimmie Epling

Darlington County’s libraries are so much more than a collection of books, DVDs, computers, e-books, and so many other things, they are for many a community resource center, a meeting place, and even a quiet refuge.  Those that have “discovered” the Library know that it promises new ideas, thoughtful insights, boundless inspiration, and delightful entertainment!  Just in case you may not have heard February is Library Lovers’ Month.  Library Lovers show their love of the Library almost daily throughout the year with their support and activities.  There many different ways a Library Lover can contribute to making each of our four locations, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, and Society Hill, a gem in its community.  We appreciate all that they do.

Some drop off books, DVDs, videotapes, and other items that they no longer need.  It may sound like a simple thing, but these donations make a difference.  In this way, we are able to provide extra copies of best sellers for circulation, replace missing items, and fill gaps in the Library’s collections, such as local history books.  If you have paperbacks you no longer want to read, we can put them on our free paperback exchange.  Do you have magazines you don’t want any more?  Instead of throwing them into a recycling bin, drop them in the Library.  We offer them free in some of our lobbies for people to take and enjoy.  We are always amazed at how many of these disappear out into the community. 

At Hartsville, the Friends of the Library place some of the donated books out in the community at one of the six “little libraries” around Hartsville.  Have you seen one yet?  These little libraries are stocked with former best sellers, children’s items and things for teens, all are labeled by the Friends of the Library.  They do not need to be checked out and are free for anyone to take and read. 

Your donated books and magazines are sometimes turned into attractive artwork and practical items. The staff has turned some books into artworks (check our website under “For Adults” and “Staff Artwork”).   There are wreaths, floral arrangements, planters, lampshades, clocks, and more.  There are many ways an old book or magazine can be reused.

Those items we cannot use are turned over to the Friends of the Library for their fundraising book sales.  The Friends organize regular book sale that raise funds for special projects and activities at the Library.  The funds go for special programming, such as for performers during the children’s Summer Reading Program, books distributed to children at Christmas time, adult programs, and, of course, new titles for the collection.

One of the best ways you can show your love of the Library and the community is by becoming a Friend of the Library with an annual membership.  The Friends organizations are always looking for members that would like to help support and promote the Library.  The Friends work with the Library’s staff to plan what the Library will benefit the most from in the next twelve months.  In the past year, the Friends spearheaded the upgrades to the Hartsville children’s area, the addition at Lamar, children’s programming in Darlington, and new signs in Society Hill.  A Friends membership starts at $10.00 a year.  There are higher levels as well.  Being a Friends member does have a few perks.  You get first shot at the book sales, a coupon for fine forgiveness or book sale purchases, and that nice warm feeling of doing something good.  A Friends of the Library membership makes a great gift for birthdays and other special occasions.  Just contact the branch nearest you for information on joining the Friends.

Maybe you know someone in your family or circle of friends that is or was an avid reader.  Honor them with a purchase directed donation that places a book in the collection or other item in the Library in their honor or memory if they have passed on.  The staff of the Library is happy to work with you to select the right book or item in memory or honor of someone close to you. 

One of the easiest ways to love the library is by “Friend”ing it on Facebook.  The Library maintains a Facebook page, have you liked us yet?  Take a look at it.  We announce upcoming program, post list of the New York Times Bestsellers we have, offer a Word of the Week, and other uniquely library information.  Facebook is a simple no cost way to show you care by keeping up on what is happening at the Library.

The Library gets frequent calls about volunteering in our facility.  We are thrilled when someone wants to donate their expertise, time, and resources to the Library.  Our volunteers help out during our summer reading programs and children’s story times, show movies, speak up for the Library at community groups, buy a subscription to a popular magazine, promote the Library with government officials, nominate the Library as a community, school, or corporate organization's project, and for odds and ends that we never seem to have enough time to do.  Just let a staff member know of you are interested in volunteering and we will help you find a volunteer activity that will be fulfilling and satisfying for you. 

On the personal side, from the staff’s perspective, we have library users that bring in homemade bread, cookies (chocolate chip is a personal favorite of mine by the way), nuts, and candy for us to enjoy.  I suppose they want to make sure none of us expire of hunger while we work diligently to serve the community.  Or they just want us to feel the love…. and we do!

So maybe this month, you’ll take a minute to show your love of the libraries in the Darlington County Library System.  There are many ways to do it.  Remember, you are not just limited to expressing it in just February.  When you contribute to the Library at any time of the year, everyone in the community benefits!

February 5, 2015