Cozy up to a good book

LIBRARY winter image

By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

Winter is not far away according to the calendar. It starts December 22nd this year. The days will get gradually shorter until then. The nights will get nippier too, requiring you to find that jacket in the back of your closet and frost scraper under the car seat. The good thing about this week is we are in the midst of the holiday season. The shopping hype of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” is now behind us. And, while the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful, when you’ve got no place to go, why not cozy up with a good book..ho…ho…ho? (If those words sound familiar, they are my clever…or not…rewording of the Christmas carol “Let It Snow”). If you are still reading this article, the Darlington County Library invites you to participate in our first “Winter Reading Program.”

The “Cozy Up to a Good Book” winter reading program is for all ages. It begins on December 7th and will go through February 29th. As always, the Library offers a variety of free reading, listening, and viewing experiences for you during the winter. This year, we encourage you during these chilly days to curl up with a good story you have found at one of our four locations, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, or Society Hill or the “digital branch” ( When you do this winter, you have a chance to win prizes from the Library by playing “Book Bingo.”

The Library’s “Book Bingo” is just like regular bingo in that you have to get four or five blocks in a row. The difference from regular bingo is that you have a choice of the type of book you read or listen to as an audio book to fill the blocks. To encourage readers of all ages, we have a bingo card suitable for every age group.
The youngest group is for those from birth through six years old. Among the reading choices are books about colors, family, bears, holiday award winners, bilingual (give the Tumble Book Library a try), easy reader, silly stories, and more. Parents can read to their youngest or read with their oldest in this age group.

The pre-teens age group, made up of seven to twelve year olds, has a bingo card of its own. This age group will find choices like biography, funny stories, fantasy, realistic fiction, and graphic novels on their card.
Teens are not forgotten in our winter reading program. Reading choices for teens include science fiction, paranormal, steampunk and historical fiction.

Adults can also participate by picking up a bingo card. The squares on the adult card include reading choices more to their liking, such as romance, suspense, thriller, how-to, and large print.

Once you get your first “Book Bingo” by completing four blocks in a row, take your card to the Library to exchange it for prizes and to be entered in prize drawings. The prizes at each location will vary. At the Darlington Branch for the youngest group, each child that gets a “Bingo” on their card can exchange it for a free book and a prize from the “prize bucket.” A prize drawing will be held at the end of the program for a “library bag full of goodies.” The Hartsville Branch will be giving away a free book to everyone who gets a “Bingo” and two free tickets to a Coker College athletic event. Bingo winners will also get a chance to experience something unique at the Hartsville Branch, an indoor miniature golf course. Depending on your age group, you will receive a ticket to play a round of Library miniature golf on either February 20th or 21st. The grand prize drawing at Hartsville will be for a $25 gift card from Burry Book Store and a library book bag. The winter reading program prizes and activities are made possible by the Friends of each branch library.

During the “Cozy Up to a Good Book” winter reading program, there will be some special additions to our regular story times, family movies, teen activities, books clubs, and “Paws to Read” program (children reading to therapy dogs).

Hartsville will have a special adult craft time on the first Wednesday of the three winter months. Discover what you can create on December 2nd, January 6th, and February 3rd, all starting at 3 p.m., by calling Hartsville Branch and then drop by to join in the fun.

The Darlington and Lamar branches will host a “Cookies with Santa” program on Saturday, December 12th beginning at 11 a.m. Stop by to meet the jolly guy and share some holiday treats with him.

A local authors’ book fair will be held at the Darlington Branch on December 12th as part of the winter reading program. The fair is an opportunity to meet local authors, talk to them about their work, and have them sign their books. The local authors who will be at the Darlington Branch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. are Kara Adams (Christian Yoga), Ron Baxley, Jr. (Fantasy), Charlotte Berger (Children), Wynnette Fraser (Local Historical Fiction), Shawn Hudson (Humor and Graphic Novels), Christy Mumma (Animals), and Regina Smeltzer (Christian Suspense).

Also, Darlington Branch will host a “Read-a-Thon” on Saturday, January 9th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be children’s stories read during the entire time. Come and listen to the stories and even take a turn reading if you like.

Looking ahead to the winter months, while the weather outside will be chilly, the Darlington County Library warmly invites you to join in the “Cozy Up With a Good Book” winter reading activities. Don’t forget, you have a standing invitation all year long to visit one of our four locations or our “digital branch” ( to browse our collection of hundreds of thousands of great reads and borrow what you like. You don’t need to wait until wintertime to curl up with a good story to pass the long nights of the season. You can pass the time in any season with a good read from the Library.

Author: Jana Pye

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