Keep Calm, Visit the Library, and Read On

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By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

The Presidential primary season is upon us. The political feeding frenzy in Iowa and New Hampshire is over. No candidate for either party at this point can claim to have his or her party’s nomination secured, so all eyes are now on us, South Carolina. The candidates have visited the state to rally their supporters. Donald Trump visited Florence just last Friday. It was an interesting experience (I wish I had bought the “overcomb” and “meow” badges because they will become valuable collectibles in the future). The Democrat candidates debated in Charleston on January 17th and I saw some familiar faces in the crowd as I watched the debate on TV.

We are now the “battleground state,” so prepare for the full court press of last minute mailings, robo-calls, and advertising to sway you to vote “for the next President of these United States.” The winners of the first two primaries are talking about what they did right. The losers are telling us how they will turn defeat elsewhere into victory here. Political pundits of every stripe are voicing their opinions on TV, radio, across the Internet, and in social media. What can you do to avoid this cacophony of voices? Keep calm, visit the Library, and read on!

The Darlington County Library System is your refuge during the week ahead. Let us suggest a few things you can do to pass the time as this political tempest passes westward to Nevada.
Read every day. It is good for you, just like eating healthy and exercising, to read daily. Set aside five minutes in your day just to read. When you sit down and begin reading, the world around you will melt away as your mind focuses on the new and different. Time will fly by as you become engulfed in what you are reading. When you stop, it will dawn on you that much more than five minutes has passed. Reading every day will change your world in ways you will never imagine.

Take a book along wherever you go. Slip a paperback novel into your pocket, purse, backpack, or briefcase for those times when you find yourself waiting, like for a candidate’s rally to start. Having good book with you to read will help make passing the time more enjoyable. With today’s technology, you do not need to carry a paper book. It can be laptop, tablet, e-reader, or smartphone on which you read an e-book or e-magazine. The Library has thousands of e-books and a collection of e-magazines you can download onto your portable device and take with you for anytime reading.

Read about things you like. The Library has something for every reading taste. If it is light fare you want, such as a thriller, romance, or adventure novel, the Library has it. The Library has all sorts of self-help, do-it-yourself, and step-by-step guides, manuals, and handbooks. We even have books written by and about the Presidential candidates at the Library, if that is your preference.

Read everything you can. What you read doesn’t have to be a book, magazine, or newspaper. Take the time to truly read a menu, wine and beer lists, billboards, political candidate campaign mailings, posters, ingredient labels (before you call asking, erythorbate is not ground earthworms), song lyrics, instruction sheets (except from IKEA), and table tents. You will learn new words and stuff you never knew existed. We suggest you try your hand at reading poetry, nonfiction, plays, and memoirs. You might be inspired by what you read to run for political office!

Read out loud with someone else. The Library especially encourages all parents and caregivers to read aloud with their children. Reading a book with a child is a wonderful experience. A child’s eyes will light up as you share a story about a cat in a hat, a dump truck, or a girl named Dora. When you read to children, you are not just entertaining them, you are exposing them to new words, ideas, and concepts. You are instilling in them a love of reading by being a role model. A child who is a reader can even become President.

Talk about what you have read. We want to hear from you what you like and don’t like. Many of the best recommendations we receive come from those who regularly visit the Library. Our readers are not shy about telling us how they felt about the books they read. Sometimes we get a whole different perspective, the Darlington County SC perspective, on what the big city critics think is a great book. The Library even sponsors monthly books clubs to encourage people to come together to talk about a specially chosen book.

Lastly, know it doesn’t matter what you read during this passing political squall, just read! As you spend your evenings reading, it will pass by quickly. Remember, regardless of the bluster to come, the Darlington County Library is here to help you sort it out. So keep calm, visit the Library, and read on!

Author: Jana Pye

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