We Are Making it Easier for Customers

The Berkeley County Library System’s Strategic Plan is centered on improving the customer experience and removing barriers to their services and resources. Since 2015, BCLS has worked to identify obstacles that prevent customers from using the library. Some of their latest improvements include virtual library cards, online meeting room booking, and automatic renewals.

When Berkeley County Library System composed their strategic plan in 2015, one of their primary focuses included evaluating how and why something was done and looking for ways to make it easier for customers to use their services. Many strides to improve their processes included things like removing fees such as the $2 fee for “Internet-only” library cards, expanding their services such as adding the popular online learning platform Lynda.com and incorporating new ways for customers to go digital.

Several new processes have been launched to continue these efforts:

Automatic Renewals

The library will now automatically renew materials for a customer if that item is eligible for a renewal and another customer is not waiting on it. Customers will no longer have to stress about calling or running to the library to renew a book they are still reading or a movie they have not watch yet! This should also save money for customers who end up having to pay small fines for keeping their library materials a few days past their due dates. When an item is coming due, we will renew it for customers automatically so they won’t lose time, as items renew from the previous due date for another full loan period. If we have an email address, the customer will get a notice that says what renewed, what didn’t, and the new due dates for their items.

Online Meeting Room Booking

Also in May, BCLS launched a new online booking service for customers to reserve a meeting room or study room at one of their 6 branches as well as requesting the mobile library for a special event or new community stop. Booking a meeting room used to entail calling a specific library branch to make a reservation. Now customers can do it with the click of a button. The library’s meeting rooms are available for after-hours meetings but some restrictions do apply. A complete list of these restrictions can be found online at berkeleylibrarysc.org/library-services. A meeting room digital kiosk kit is also available for presentations.

Virtual Cards

In June, BCLS introduced a new virtual library card. So no more hunting for a library card! It’s a virtual world and now so is your library. When a customer registers for a new library card, they can opt for a virtual card! The new virtual card works just like a physical card.  *Note this is for new customers only.

Credit Card Payments

BCLS is now accepting credit cards in all of their library branches. We hope this change will make it easier for customers to use our services such as printing and faxing and paying late fees.

No longer is the library just a warehouse of books, in addition to the improvements above, Berkeley County Library System has also worked to add more digital services and products such as Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots that customers can check out to use at home, preloaded learning and video tablets designed for kids to learn on the go without the need for Wi-Fi, and a new movie/TV hotspot device that allows customers to enjoy 15 hours of entertainment without using Wi-Fi or data. If you have not visited one of our libraries in a long time, we encourage you to stop by or check us out online at berkeleylibrarysc.org to see all the amazing products and services we now offer.

Library Host STEM Programs for All Ages

Written by Kristen Lanier, BCLS Marketing and PR Coordinator, with input from several branch managers

Goose Creek Library has started a Homeschool Meetup Program: 

Students at the Goose Creek Library’s Homeschool Meetup are thrilled to learn more about VR with kits from the South Carolina State Library.

In January even after the snow storm, 26 children and 8 adults came to the Goose Creek Library for some excitement and fun learning in the new Homeschool Meetup Program. This new program, coordinated and hosted by BCLS’s Young Adult Librarian, BriAnne Baxley, has had tremendous success connecting homeschool students in the area and providing a fun educational opportunity centered around various topics. Each program begins with a book reading that goes along with the topic for the day. Baxley explains “This helps draw them in and to get them started thinking of what their activity might involve. In one particular meeting, the children were inspired by a STEM book about a little girl who kept trying to fly and that not giving up is the real success. They were then broken up into small groups and had 10-15 minutes at each center. Centers consisted of STEM kits that BCLS has in their possession like snap circuit kits and things of that nature. However, the most exciting kit came from the State Library and it was the Virtual Reality Kit. Even the parents got into the action and everyone had a great time.”

Students at the Homeschool Meetup learn about Virtual Reality with various VR kits including the Google Cardboard VR headset.

In March, Those in attendance at the Homeschool Meetup had an “egg”cellent time. At a previous meetup, the students talked about flight and air. They made paper airplanes and talked about why (or why not) their creations flew the way they did. Baxley says,”This lesson helped them prep for the following meeting during which they created a parachute or some kind of holder that would help them get an egg to safety when dropped. These eggs were not cooked so it added to the “ick” factor.” During this program, BriAnne climbed up on a ladder and dropped each one at the same height and the children would race to see if it was cracked. “We had some to crack on impact, some to crack slightly when they accidentally rolled out and some that never cracked! The children would cheer or “aww man!” depending on what happened. The children had a fantastic time and the parents kept talking about how wonderful the lesson was.” BriAnne is just excited about the excitement that the families bring and is appreciative of all the extra hands that the parents bring to make these activities go so smoothly.

Hanahan Laboratory for Tweens:

In January, the Virtual Reality Kit made its way to the “The Laboratory” at Hanahan Library. Those who participated took turns being on the moon, riding on water slides, and playing interactive games. Branch Manager at Hanahan Libary, Karen Altman says, “Though a small group, it was the perfect size for this activity. We even had one 3-year old who wanted to participate so he was given “one” to play with. Have no fear it was a cardboard one from Google that had no technology attached to it.” Parents who were also in attendance also had a fantastic time and were

Mrs. BriAnne test the students’ egg parachutes by dropping them from a raised elevation. Several of them did not break!

interested in how they could have one for their own. BCLS is very appreciative of the State Library for providing kits such as this one to enhance programming without the budget constraints that purchasing on our own may cause.

 

Altman continues “Crazy what a few toothpicks, some jelly beans, and one Peep will create.” Those in attendance of The Laboratory at Hanahan in March were asked to create a protective shelter for their Peep Bunny. They could use as many of the items available as they wanted as long as it could hold up a book. Those in attendance were super creative and thought about their structure on all sides. They were able to test out their structure and then fix it for another go around afterward. “While the Peep was not always safe the tweens sure did have fun,” comments Altman.

Teen Techshops for Girlz at St. Stephen:

The STEM activities continued at the St. Stephen Library with BCLS’s tech team, dubbed TechGirlz, who hosted a series of tech workshops targeted for girls. In March, teens were able to learn more about 3D printing by designing a bangle bracelet in Autocad’s TinkerCad 3D Modeling program. They learned the basics of 3D modeling and various professional 3D modeling software. Each participant was able to design and print their own bracelet. In April TechGirlz introduced virtual reality to the participants. During the program, teens were able to learn how VR works from a technical standpoint, build their own VR headset, and then used their own headsets to take a virtual trip around the library.

 

 

Rural Library Continues to Make Huge Impact on Community

Rural Library Continues to Make Huge Impact on Community

It is no secret that libraries often serve as the community centers for small towns and larger cities. Our St. Stephen Library has been working hard to engage residents of all ages through creative

Members of the St. Stephen Magistrate Court

programming and strategic outreach. We are excited that their hard work is paying off and getting noticed. Members of the St. Stephen Magistrate Court, which shares a building with the St. Stephen Library, comment, “We see the impact that the library has on our community every day. Lately, the library has been bringing in teens by the droves, and often in the mornings, there are people waiting by the door for the library to open. Judge Whaley (middle) says: Tina’s name is well known at St. Stephen Middle School because her niece often speaks of her and hears other kids speaking well of her.

The library has been great about sharing the multipurpose room and many of our customers use library facilities and resources before or after court. I love the cooperation and collaboration that we have with the library. Tina is an awesome partner – warm and inviting,

“Downton Abbey Style” High Tea program draws 26 people

and I doubt that our partnership would work without her. Earl (far right) says: The level of community involvement and outreach from the library is outstanding – I have eaten things there that I never thought I would eat, and the library is responsible for exposing me and the community to new and different things.”

 

The St. Stephen Library has been offering fun and educational programs every week attracting dozens of loyal attendees who cannot stop raving about what is coming next. Last month the library hosted a “Downton Abbey Style” High Tea drawing over 25 ladies and 1 lord who were able to sample different teas and delicacies commonly found in British high tea and participated in a Downton Abbey game of trivia. One attendee remarked that she believed that this was the closest she would ever get to England.  Mr. Hill from the Magistrate’s said that from now on, he wished to be addressed as “Lord Walter,” which is how his nameplate read.  He took both the nameplate and the menu home and framed it.

 

“They Make Sure We’re Involved” One Customer Explains Why She Now Comes to the Library More

Library customer Katisha White is now coming into the library more for programs with her 12 yr old son.

The Library has attracted new customers and re-engaged casual library users to increase their library usage. Here how one customer explains why she is a super fan of the library now and has everyone asking her about it. “Hello, my name is Katisha White and I am a resident of Pineville.  I have a 12-year-old son that I have always brought to the library from time to time.  Lately, though, I find that we are coming to the St. Stephen Library more often throughout the week and month.  There is always something interesting going on here, and they do fun family events and craft making – I learn a lot by being a regular library visitor.  I love the staff here; they are so loving and fun, especially Ms. Tina.  They’re like family to me and my son, giving me life lessons, recipes, and great advice to live by.  Our friends and family are almost concerned that we come here so much, asking: “Hey, what exactly is going on at that library anyway?  Why are you there so much?”  We are even on the reminder list so that whenever there is something happening, they make sure we’re involved.  St. Stephen Library is a cool, interesting library: I love everything about it, and I can’t wait for the future activities they have planned.”

Previous articles about St. Stephen Library: 

 

BCLS Adds New Items and Services

Friends of the Library Plan for a Big 2018 – Form New Committees

The Friends host community book sales to help raise funds for the libraries. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of being a Friend with a special sneak peek for Friend’s members.

Join the Friends of the Library and Make a Difference in Your Community! 

As Berkeley County and the Berkeley County Library System continue to grow, it is even more important for the Friends of the Library to grow with them. With this in mind, the Friends of the Library are working hard to plan more events, fundraisers, and special projects to help support the 6 BCLS libraries, mobile library, and the forthcoming new Cane Bay Library, which is expected to open in Fall of this year. We have established new committees and committee chairs to allow members to focus their talents and time on an area that means a lot to them.

Why join the Friends?

The Friends of Berkeley County Library System is an incorporated non-profit organization of volunteers. We promote, enhance, and support the Berkeley County Library System to bring all the exciting, involving, inspiring programs our county’s residents both need…and deserve.

Support from our members and other generous donors has enabled BCLS to offer special programs that have a huge impact on our community.  While public funding supports basic library operations, support from the Friends allows the library to do more for their customers.  It’s what makes the difference between a good library and a great library.

Money is raised through membership fees, donations, Friends’ book sale shelves at each library, and special fundraising events. Funds from the Friends help support programs and initiatives for children, teens, and adults including the Summer Reading Program for all 6 BCLS library branches and the mobile library.

The Friends of the Berkeley County Library, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization.

How can you be a Friend?

The Friends support and help fund the Summer Reading Program every year which includes paying for special programs like a Magic Show and Theatre Group, providing medals and t-shirts for children who complete the program and funding the grand prizes for special winners such as a reading tablet.

Whether through a monetary donation or a gift of time and talent, you can make a difference. Our memberships begin as low as $10/year starting in the month you join.

Membership Benefits Include:

  • Because we are a 501(c)3 organization, your membership and/or donation is tax deductible.
  • Entry to Book Sale preview events and “first choice” for workers.
  • Discounted tickets to select FRIENDS fundraisers.
  • Invitation to attend Friend’s Annual Meeting and Local Author Meet & Greet.

Ways to help: 

Become a friend! If you are not a member or you need to renew your membership. Please consider becoming a member of the Friends or encouraging others to join. There are membership envelopes available at the all BCLS library branches; you can also join through PayPal online on our website.

Volunteer at an event or fundraiser! Check our website, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kim Ward at foblcs@gmail.com, to see what events are coming up and how you can help.

Join a committee! You can make a higher impact by serving on a committee. Here is a list of our committees and the committee chair contacts. If you would like to join a committee or request more information, you can email the committee chair directly.

Make a monetary donation! Whether you are a member of the Friends or not, your donation is greatly appreciated. Donations to the Friends of the Berkeley County Library are fully tax-deductible. You can make a monetary donation:

  • Online with a credit card by clicking the donate button on this page.
  • By placing a donation check in a Friend’s envelope at one of the library branches (drop envelope in the book sales payment box).
  • Or by printing a Friends of BCLS_Monetary Donation Form and mailing it with a check to the Friends of the Berkeley County Library System, 100 Library Street Moncks Corner, SC 29461.
 

It feels so good to be a Friend!

As a member of the Friends of the Library, you will be rewarded in a thousand ways every year – with hundreds of children’s smiles as they receive their Summer Reading t-shirt and medals, the sincere appreciation from library staff for your support, and the satisfaction of knowing you make a difference to one of Berkeley County’s most important resources.

Join Today & Make a Difference!