Blythewood Library Packed with Summer Offerings

Visitors will learn about the culture of the Gullah/Geechee community through the art of drumming when EGBE Kilimanjaro, a family of African drummers and dancers performs on Wednesday, June 13, at 10:30 a.m. This performace will be outdoors if the weather is clear. If it rains, it will be held in the gymnasium across the street at Trinity United Methodist Church. Bring something to sit on and enjoy this fun event.

If you’re looking for fun this summer, you’ll find it at the Blythewood Branch of the Richland County Public Library.  Summer is always a busy time at the library, and this year there are lots of new programs and activities for kids, families, teens and adults.

“Our summer reading program is very popular this year, and better than ever,” said Lori Robbins-Murphy, a library assistant.  “It’s open to everyone – adults, teens, children – even babies who participate by having someone read to them!” she added with a smile.

This year, each reader who signs up for the program gets to create a personalized reading challenge.  For instance, a person who is very busy with sports, lessons, camps or family events might pledge simply to read for 30 minutes every Friday afternoon.  Someone else might challenge themselves to read every book in a series, like Harry Potter or the Jack Reacher novels.

“Whether it’s about time or about quantity, we’re encouraging each reader to create a meaningful goal,” she said.  “It’s completely up to the individual.”

The summer reading program runs through August 18, and those who complete their reading challenge will receive a prize and also be entered into the drawing for a Kindle Fire e-reader.

In addition to the regular Friday story times and summer programs, two special Summer Reading Celebrations will be held at Blythewood Branch this summer. We will learn about the culture of the Gullah Geechee community through the art of drumming when EGBE Kilimanjaro, a family of African Drummers and Dancers performs on Wednesday, June 13, at 10:30. This performance will be outdoors if the weather is clear. If it rains, it will be held in the gymnasium across the street at Trinity United Methodist Church. Bring something to sit on and enjoy this fun event.

Then, on Thursday, July 12, at 3:30, there will be lots of laughter when ventriloquist Steve Brogan and his hilariously funny friends join us at the library.

Besides the usual reasons for visiting the library – checking out books, CDs, DVDs or playaways, or reading magazines and newspapers – Robbins-Murphy said there’s increasing demand in the summer for computers, wireless access and free online resources such as research databases and downloadable audio and e-books. She said that to meet this demand, the library has increased the number of e-book titles available for free download to over 10,500.

“An exciting new development this summer is that the Richland County Public Library is one of 10 libraries around the country chosen as a testing site for the 3M Cloud library, a virtual hub where patrons can access thousands of e-book titles,” she said.  “These downloads work on any type of e-reader, including smartphones.”

Another new resource at the library is Freegal, an online service for downloading music, which can be accessed through the library’s website.

“With a library card and PIN,” Robbins-Murphy said, “patrons can download up to three songs a week from the Sony Music Entertainment Catalog, and it’s absolutely free.”

The Blythewood branch has added an additional public computer this year – there are now eight – and offers free wireless access for those who bring their own tablets and laptops.  Free use of a scanner and a fax machine is also available to the public.

And what else is changing at the library?  Why, the books, of course!  In order to provide a greater variety of reading materials to each branch, the county library system has begun ‘floating’ its collection of materials between branches.

“That means when an item is returned to the Blythewood branch, it stays here – even if it was originally shelved at another location,” Robbins-Murphy said.  “The result is that our collection is constantly changing.”

And for young children, a fun storytime is offered at the library on Friday mornings at 10:30.

She added that library resources are also available to the elderly or shut-ins who can’t get to the library.  Those patrons are encouraged to participate in the homebound program, which provides a free pickup and delivery service of books and other library materials.

“We also have an outreach program to bring library resources to community facilities like nursing homes and day care centers,” she said.  “Our goal is to make sure that everyone is able to access the wonderful variety of materials, services and programs available here at the Blythewood library!”