UNION COUNTY — After more than four years of service that has seen the library undergo changes that have helped move it more firmly into the digital age, Director Ben Loftis is leaving the Union County Carnegie Library.
Loftis, who has served as the library’s director since July 2011, announced this past week that he will be leaving the library in October to take a similar position in Cherokee County.
“I have accepted the position of director at the Cherokee County Public Library,” Loftis said. “My last day at the Carnegie Library will be Friday, Oct. 16.”
While he has enjoyed his time at Carnegie, Loftis said he is looking forward to taking on similar responsibilities for the much larger library system in Cherokee County.
“I felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Loftis said. “I’ve enjoyed my time in Union and have enjoyed working in and being a part of the community.”
Being part of the community has included membership in the Union Rotary Club and the Union County Clemson Club. Loftis is the current president of the Union Rotary Club and has served as public information officer for the Union County Clemson Club. He said he plans to continue his involvement with Rotary in Cherokee County and will definitely continue to be a Clemson Tiger.
Looking back over his four years as Carnegie’s director, Loftis pointed to the library’s increased use of and increased presence on the Internet to serve the people of Union County as one of his proudest achievements. During his tenure as director, the library started providing patrons with requested access to eBooks and other digital services that enables them to go online and download books.
“The implementation of eBooks has been very well received,” Loftis said of the service’s popularity with patrons.
Another project undertaken during Loftis’ tenure has been the effort to raise funds for Carnegie’s building program which, among things, will enable the library to reopen its original entrance facing South Street as well as make other needed improvements. The project is expected to cost $2 million of which approximately $1.3 million has been raised so far. The funds have been raised through a combination of private donations and fundraisers by supporters of the library and the allocation of state funds. In the latter instance, Loftis was part of a group of library supporters who went to Columbia to seek the assistance of the Union County Legislative Delegation in getting the funding approved.
Loftis said that the fundraising effort is continuing, adding that the effort to raise the funds has generated increased interest by the public in the library, the services it offers, and its role in the community.
Prior to coming to the Carnegie Library, Loftis worked in several different capacities for the Spartanburg Public Library and said he sees his move to, first, Carnegie, and now, Cherokee County, as a continuation of his efforts to grow as a library administrator. He said he sees his move to Cherokee County as an opportunity to continue doing what he has done in Union County only on a larger scale.
“In a lot of ways there are many similarities and that is what attracted me to the position,” Loftis said. “The major difference is the opportunity to lead a larger library system.”
While his last day at Carnegie is still more than two weeks away, Loftis said he wanted to thank the library board and the people of Union County for the great opportunity and support they have given him during the past four years.
“I just want to thank the Carnegie Library Board for giving me the opportunity to serve as director,” Loftis said. “I want to thank the people of Union County for allowing me to serve as librarian. The Carnegie Library is a great place and one that will always be special to me.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.