New Year, New Library
By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System
It is a “New Year, New Library” at the Darlington County Library System. The Library is changing. We are looking for new ways to make the Library better and it all starts with what we want the Library to be for you.
Each of our four locations, Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, and Society Hill, should be a welcoming and comfortable place to visit with a friendly ambience. Visitors to the Darlington Branch may have noticed some changes under its new leadership; an office was converted to a study room, the service desks were moved, and more changes are underway. The other branches are also working to create public spaces, collections, services, programs, and outreach that will appeal to their community to encourage greater use. We want your ideas and suggestions to help us make it better for you.
When you enter one of our Library buildings we want you to be proud.A “New Year, New Library” is coming true with the reopening of the newly remodeled and expanded Lamar branch in March. Our wish is you will have a “WOW!” moment when you visit any of our libraries, finding them to be dynamic, engaging, and maybe even a bit surprising at times. This requires us to be creative, adaptable, and to embrace the future and change.
The new year at the Library began with a renewal of our commitment to deliver exceptional customer service to you. When you call or visit the Library, the staff wants you to feel welcomed with a smile and pleasant greeting, and have your needs and/or wants met in a professional and respectful manner. To paraphrase Walt Disney, we want to do what we do so well you will want to come again and bring your friends!
The Library guarantees quality information resources; you may have a computer, tablet, or smartphone and great Internet access at home, but to access much of the best that is available comes at a price. The Library gives you virtual access to a world of e-books, e-audiobooks, video, research databases, and knowledge at home through a “Virtual Branch” and on your portable devices in each branch at no cost. This past year, we shared children’s e-books, the opportunity to learn more than 60 languages through Mango Languages, and the chance to discover your family’s history through Ancestry.com. We will soon see the possibility of streaming video and magazines. The Library will continue its commitment to being the only access point many have to current technology and assistance with it.
Each year more government agencies, businesses, assistance organizations, and others proudly announce that to “better serve our _______ (you fill in the blank), you can now access what you need online and at the Library.” The Library has become the de facto branch office for these groups and the access point for residents in need of these services because we have the latest technology. The Library will continue to be a source the best of the web and the online access point for all those in need.
Making your Library a relevant and integral part of the community requires a dedicated and dynamic leadership. There are many opportunities for you to help, such as becoming a Board member or by joining the Friends group at your local branch. The expertise and knowledge you can bring to the Library helps the Branch Managers and staff to make each branch a valuable part of its community. The community connections of Board members and Friends also help the Library strengthen and expand its relationships with government, businesses, and community agencies for support and partnerships. The Library needs the help of those with a vision to see what can be and the drive to make it a reality.
The Darlington County Public Library must change to meet the community’s aspirations and desires in the new year and the decade to come. This requires the Library to effectively and efficiently manage the resources entrusted to it by the community, to build meaningful partnerships with other organizations, and to respond to opportunities and challenges with a vision and confidence that will make the difference between the success and failure of our mission to serve the community. The economy, demographics, and technological changes will have an impact on the Library’s future. There are many possible directions the Library can go to meet the coming needs of the residents of Darlington County. A “New Year, New Library” is only possible with you. We want to hear in what directions you believe the Library should go!