Help solve a murder mystery in Society Hill

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Society Hill is the scene of a murder mystery, and the Friends of the Society Hill Library are holding a spaghetti dinner in hopes you will help solve it!

Charlene McDonnough, branch manager of the Society Hill Library, is hoping that the first-ever Murder Mystery Dinner Theater will be an enjoyable fundraiser for the community, and welcomes the opportunity to show off the lovely library to those who have not been inside.

The Murder Mystery Theater and Spaghetti Dinner will be held on Saturday, February 27 at 6 p.m.

For a $10 ticket, attendees have the chance to not only eat, but have a part in the play. “We still have about 11 (of 28) parts left,” she said. “The murder mystery is very kid-friendly, so if families want their kids to have a part.”

They will receive a character description, but not receive their lines until the night of the event, so no need to memorize!

Proceeds from the dinner will help fund the summer program for children at the library.

The idea for for dinner theater was McDonnough’s. “I roped them into it,” she said.

Library furniture will be rearranged to spread out tables set up like a restaurant with flowers and candles…with the addition of crime scene tape.

The Town Hall will loan their P.A. system with microphones so everyone can hear.

“There will not be a body, but an outline will be drawn out,” continued McDonnough. “The attendees are gathered to hear the last will and testament of the person who was murdered.”

The Friends group are supplying five different types of spaghetti, along with salad, garlic bread; delicious baked goods will be served for dessert.

“Our Friends help support our children’s programs. This fundraiser is going towards helping with supplies for our summer reading program.” said McDonnough. “We have an average of about 30 to 50 kids each year.”

The Friends board does not currently have a President. The vice president is Dawn Reid; treasurer is Eugenia Peterson, and secretary is Shawn Hans.

Hans, a member of the Friends, volunteers on behalf of the group by picking up trash on a daily basis all over the town.”

This branch, although tiny, is an integral part of the community, and is a lovely, relaxing space that many people choose to while away the hours. “I call it a beach cottage feel,” said McDonnough. “We’ve had many patrons ask for the name of the paint used here.”

The lovely wooden signs that hang from the walls to denote areas of the book collection were a group effort by Gail Gandy, Omar Coleman, the Lamar children’s librarian Michelle, and McDonnaugh.

The branch, along with all of the Darlington County Library System locations, is wi-fi, something that is a blessing for many people.
“We partner with Adult Ed. to provide G.E.D. classes, and Work Keys classes for the people that live here at no charge,” we are the only ones that stay open late. We have many participants that do not have transportation to get to the classes in Darlington or Hartsville. It’s one of the best-attended programs we provide.”

They are held on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the branch; they operate on the Darlington County School District schedule, with summers off.
Last year, the Friends hosted a BBQ that was successful; another BBQ will be held this year on April 22nd during Library Awareness Week
The next opportunity for residents to have tax assistance by trained income tax professionals at the Society Hill library will be March 9.
The summer reading program planning is already underway by staff member Diana Williamson; this year will be a sports health theme; golf and equestrian programs have been approached so far, and more surprises will be revealed before school lets out.

McDonnough started in the county in 2004 as a computer teacher for the library system, driving to each branch. She became the Branch Manager in Society Hill in 2012.

Although she drives from her home in Florence daily, she makes time to attend each monthly Town Hall meeting, is a member of the Society Hill Lions Club and assists with the Catfish Festival each year.

Donations for the annual book sale is ongoing.

The Friends group was reestablished in October of 2015; now equipped with a new tax ID number, the group is now seeking new members. Fees are $10 a year, Family is $15, Seniors are $5, and a Lifetime membership is $300. Other levels exist for businesses.

Applications to join the Friends, and tickets for the dinner theater are available at the branch at 114 Carrigan Avenue Society Hill, or by calling: 843-378-0026.

Author: Duane Childers

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