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Cottageville Library marks 1st anniversary

by | May 16, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 15, 2019 at 10:18 am

By JULIE HOFF
widdleswife@aol.com

More than two dozen book lovers crowded into the Cottageville branch of the Colleton County Library on May 11 to celebrate the tiny outpost’s first anniversary.
From toddlers to senior citizens, they represented the community support that’s made the library thrive since it opened in the town complex on Salley Ackerman Drive in 2018, after a decade of lobbying by Councilman Betty Rhode.
“It was very gratifying to see it finally happen,” Rhode, a retired school librarian. “I strongly encourage all parents to bring their children.”
Guests on Saturday browsed a big book sale, enjoyed free cupcakes and cheered during a cakewalk with delicious, fresh-baked prizes. The celebration was organized by Cottageville librarian Rhonda Kierpiec.
Colleton County Library Director Carl Coffin and Cottageville Mayor Tim Grimsley spoke at the event.
Grimsley said the library “has been a long time coming, but Ms. Betty Rhode never gave up. Now the library has become a central part of our community.”
In addition to books and DVDs for all ages, the library offers a lively book club, children’s activities like rock painting and lessons in adult crafts, such as crocheting.
“I am so proud we have a library here,” resident Patsy Willis said. “It’s a wonderful blessing.”
Community surveys help decide what library services are offered, Kierpiec said. Book club sessions are popular, as are interviews with authors and longtime residents who share details of Cottageville’s rich history.
“Book Club meets every five to six weeks, based on the schedules of the members,” Kierpiec explained. “The members suggest books, authors, and genres, and we just come to a consensus as a group.”
Coffin praised Kierpiec’s hard work and vision. “When she interviewed for this position, she showed us a year’s worth of programs she’d already planned,” he said.
Coffin said that even though the library is open only for seven hours on Saturday, in one year it circulated almost 2,000 books, DVDs and other materials and served approximately 230 children through reading and craft programs.
Kierpiec estimated that about 30 people visit each Saturday — and that number will rise when the library opens on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The hours, while not yet set in stone, will give kids a place to do homework and after-school projects.
Emphasizing that libraries are still relevant in the 21st century, Kierpiec noted that aside from free books, movies, research databases, wi-fi, story time and outreach programs, libraries bring a community together.
“Kids and adults are making connections,” she said. “They’re making friends and making our community stronger by finding shared interests, and coming together to learn from and interact with each other.”

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