Library grateful for grant | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 8, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: March 7, 2018 at 10:02 am
By JULIE HOFF
The Colleton County Library was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from The Coastal Community Foundation’s Beaufort fund.
The Coastal Community Foundation bestows more grants than any other entity in South Carolina, working with donors and nonprofits in nine counties, including Colleton, to support a wide variety of programs such as neighborhood improvements, art projects, education, health and conservation.
The grants are competitive and must be applied for annually. This year marks the 15th time the foundation has awarded funds to the library. The grant helps provide staffing for the library’s children’s department
Shiela Keaise, who’s worked at the library since 1994 and been the children’s librarian since 1996, said the grant is vital to the library’s mission.
“It funds personnel to work with me in the children’s department. It also helps support children’s programs that are educational, cultural and fun,” she said.
“Each summer we host more than 20 programs through our summer reading program, which runs between six and eight weeks each year,” Library Director Carl Coffin said.
“Coastal Community Foundation has been a longtime partner here at the library, and we appreciate them so much. This $15,000 grant is the most we’ve received so far, and it will enable us to host programs we’d otherwise be unable to,” he added.
“The bulk of the money is used for personnel — an assistant to help me shelve [books], set up for programs and other duties,” Keaise said. “But it also gives us opportunities and programs we couldn’t normally have, such as speakers and actors.”
For example, a visit from Pork Chop Productions — two women actors who tour the southeast to bring the performing arts to kids — costs $500. “If we had to pay for it, tickets would be $20 each,” Keaise noted. “Most of our guests charge from $200-$800 for one hour.”
Another popular visitor to the library is author, historian and performance artist Marquetta Goodwine, aka Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechie nation.
“We appreciate the CCF-Beaufort for all their help through the years and we look forward to them continuing to be our partners in the future,” Coffin said.
Keaise began working at the library when she was 16, shelving books in the children’s department. She worked with Mary Lou Hiott, the children’s librarian, and former library director Sylvia (Rowe) Rowland.
After all these years, she still cherishes her job.
“I love the faces of the children after I share a story they love, or that they have never heard before. I feel I make a difference in their lives,” she said.