CLR Case Studies–Georgetown County Library

Serving the Community

Prevention of illiteracy through reading readiness and reading incentive services for young children are a high priority for the Georgetown County Library. Shelia Sullivan, the children’s librarian, presents story hours at the library to Head Start classes and in the process introduces children to the library as a welcoming place and teaches them how to use it. She makes visits to school groups and encourages project-oriented visits to the public library by school classes. Sullivan’s vision of the future is to work with the local schools by bringing into the library a teacher and four students at a time to work on skills. The children’s staff encourages development of parent-child relationships through books. Literacy is a problem among older children, who use–and like–the software in the Starburst Centers. For young adults with low reading levels, it is important that the library maintain an extensive young adult fiction collection, juvenile nonfiction collection, and software appropriate for their use. If the children’s department had additional funds for technology, the department staff would like to renovate and reorganize its space to make more effective use of the existing technology. Children’s department staff members report that technology has made a difference by enabling them to offer a wider range of information. But it has brought frustrations, too. Staff installed Fortress security software, but they report “kids keep bringing down the systems anyway.”

James Carolina, the reference librarian, also is reaching out to community groups that would bring in potential Internet, and library, users. As county offices look to the library for Internet planning, he is teaching their staffs about the Internet. Carolina also made a presentation to administrators within the local school system to describe Internet resources for teachers and students and encourage experimentation with Internet connectivity.

Georgetown, as the seat of a regional court (circuit court), has a law library in the courthouse. With space at a premium in the court house, pieces of the law library have been brought to the public library, although they are housed in a separate location in Georgetown City. Online legal databases have supplanted some of the law library’s holdings. The library staff can, and would like to, help local lawyers as they make the transition from print to electronic resources. The library is pushing for physical consolidation of the legal resources in one public place, even though many of the resources can be pulled together through the online databases available in the library.

Active community member Florida Yeldel says that the library has built a “community of caring,” especially for retirees, and that both newcomers to and natives of Georgetown County are served equally. The Senior Scholars, a morning lecture program for adults, is an example of a program developed to serve the senior population.