Reading programs for adults as well as children and teens, membership in a global genealogical service, and donations by two local clubs were among the developments that took place at the Union County Carnegie during 2011-2012.
In a recent address to the Union Rotary Club, Rotarian and Union County Carnegie Library Director Ben Loftis presented a review of the 2011-2012 fiscal year. One of the highlights of the year cited by Loftis was the donation of $2,500 by the club in support of the library’s Adult Summer Reading Program. The donation was the result of a combination of $1,300 raised by the club through programs such as its aluminum drive and a $1,200 District Simplified Grant it applied for and obtained from Rotary District 7750.
The Adult Summer Reading Program, which the library offered for the first time this summer, is similar to the reading programs it offers children and teens, encouraging participants to read on their own. The adult program also encouraged participants with children to read with their children as well.
Loftis said the Adult Summer Reading Program attracted 57 participants who read a total of 597 books.
In addition to encouraging reading, the Adult Summer Reading Program also offered special crafts activities for participants including crochet classes, napkin pillow making classes, and a basic nail design class. Loftis said the crafts classes were popular with both adults and children. The Adult Summer Reading Program also had weekly prize drawings and there was a grand finale in which the most prolific readers were honored and a drawing held with the winner receiving a Barnes & Noble E-Reader Nook.
Cooperation between the schools and the library continued with the return of Storytime. Lofits said the library’s new morning hours enabled it to resume the program. He said that elementary schools have brought their students to hear stories read and tour the library.
Another program the library instituted to promote reading was the Teen Read-for-Play program in which teens earned time on the libary’s XBox360 in exchange for hours spent reading. The more hours a teenager spent reading the more time they got to play on the XBox. The program drew a total of seven particpants who read a total of 43 hours.
The library also presented its Summer Reading Program for children and teens. Loftis said the program was funded with a $3,000 donation from Dollar General and a $1,000 LSTA Grant from the State Library.
Elks Club Donation
The year also saw the library’s Bookmobile get two computers and the library get 15 new books on genealogy thanks to a $2,000 grant donated by Union Elks Lodge 1321.
Each year, each Elk is asked to donate an average amount set by the national Elks president for their lodge. The 2012 goal was an average of $4.50 which the Union Elks lodge met. The lodge’s success enabled it to receive a $2,000 Gratitude Grant from the Elks National Fund which it donated to the library.
The grant enabled the library to purchase the computers for the Bookmobile which brings library services to Union County residents in the outlying areas of the county. Loftis said the computers in the Bookmobile would enable its adults patrons to apply for jobs and generate resumes and help students keep their computer skills honed while out of school.
Loftis added that patrons used the computers at the library more than 21,000 times during the year.
Part of the Elks grant was used by the library to purchase 15 new books on genealogy, further contributing to the growth of its increasing popular genealogical program which received another boost when the library was named an affiliate of FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical records and manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has amassed billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records of genealogical significance from more than 130 countries. The organization is in the process of extending access to its collection by circulating microfilms of historic records through selected public libraries. Carnegie Library is now one of the those libraries and, along with the Greenville and Richland County libraries, one of only three in South Carolina to be designated as a FamilySearch affiliate.
In annoucing the libary’s status as a FamilySearch affiliate, Loftis said it gives the library’s patrons access to the organization’s extensive microfilm catalog. Loftis said library staff can help patrons see what microfilms are available, place film orders, and answer research questions. He added that patrons can also search the Family History Library Catalog online at FamilySearch.org to see what records FamilySearch has available to order through the library.
Loftis told Rotarians that the library’s genealogy program is growing in popularity, attracting people from both within and outside Union County. He said Genealogy Specialist Bernice Bryson fielded more than 750 questions on genealogy during the year.
The library also brought in several speakers who delivered lectures or made presentations on a variety of subjects. These included:
• A lecture by Robin Foster, a presenter and consultant with Heritage Makers, on African-American Family History which Loftis said was part of the library’s efforts to promote genealogical research.
• Speakers sponsored by the S.C. Humanities Council to discuss the topics of history and folklore. The speakers included Dr. Jack Williams, who spoke on folklore and Ginetta Hamilton, who spoke on African-American history.
• Daniel Zongrone, a jazz musician who discussed the history of jazz and peformed several selections on a vibraphone.
• WSPA-TV news anchor Tom Crabtree who took part in the finale to the 2011 Summer Reading Program.
World War II
In June, the library, together with Union Elks Lodge, hosted a showing of the first part of The American Road To Victory trilogy.
The trilogy is composed three DVDs which chronicle the American experience during the final months of World War II in Europe. The first installment, which was shown at the Elks Lodge in June, was “The Americans On D-Day.” The library and the Elks Lodge will also sponsor the showing of the second and third installments of the trilogy, “The Americans On Hell’s Highway” and “The Americans In The Bulge,” on Sept. 27 and Jan. 10, respectively. Once the series has been shown, the DVDs will join the library’s collection and will be available to the public.
For more information about the Union County Carnegie Library and its services, call 427-7140.