Last updated: July 09. 2014 7:23AM - 316 Views
Ben Loftis Contributing Columnist

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Early July is an interesting time at the Carnegie Library. It marks the mid-point of our Summer Reading program, as well as the end of our fiscal year. It is one of our busiest times of year as students and parents flock to the library for books and movies to enjoy during their summer break — nearly twice as many items were checked out in June as were checked out in February. It is also an opportunity to look back on the year that was to see where we were and where we are now.

Summer of 2013 was an exciting time for the library. It was at that time the legislature of South Carolina voted to provide the library with $1.25 million to be used towards the renovation and restoration of the library. That funding was distributed throughout the year, and the library is now in the early stages of fund raising to secure the needed amount to fund the full project. Altogether, the library will need just over $2 million for the restoration and renovation project which will restore the historic section of the library, re-arrange space to maximize the interior space of the library, and complete the library’s basement to make it usable as meeting areas for the public. For more information on the project and how to become involved, contact Ben Loftis at (864)427-7140 ext. 102.

The library remained a popular destination for Union County residents. Throughout the year, patrons checked out over 33,000 items and used the library’s computers more than 15,000 times. Many of those computer users visited the library to search and apply for jobs or to use the SCWORKs online portal. Additionally, the library issued 633 new cards, signaling the arrival of new patrons to the library and many young, new readers.

Finally, in the last few months, the library has advanced its technology offerings. In May, the library replaced all of its computers, substituting new units in for machines that were close to a decade old. The lease agreement into which the library entered will allow the library to maintain new computers on an on-going basis. The library has also made digital resources available. In March, UCCL joined the Jasmine consortium of libraries powered by Overdrive, making e-books and e-audiobooks available to patrons absolutely free. So far, more than 400 titles have been checked out. The library also made digital magazines available for download through Zinio. Over 20 different magazines are available for free download. All of these services can be accessed through the library’s homepage at www.unionlibrary.org.

The last year has been a great one for the Carnegie Library, and we hope to only continue this success in the coming year. We strive to provide quality library services to the community, so let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions to make the library a better place.

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