Library Like a Family

We Are A Family

Here at BCLS we often think of our staff and employees as a family but we love to know our customers see us in the same light. BCLS is family! 

“Where do I begin? Simply put, this lottery of kind people who work at the St. Stephen Library are amazing, and so are the people who come and go. As I am in here every day, I always know they’ve returned. This library has been there for me in tough times. When I was browsing the web, or picking out a good read, often I was always going through so much. But I walk in here and I see family. I’ve found friendships. The library’s love filled the gaps whenever I was down or struggling with something in my life.

I walk in and get smiles all around. Someday, I plan to get kissed by my girlfriend underneath the stars at a Movie Under the Stars. Holidays here are just amazing, so much fun! The things I’ve learned here at this library are simple: stay uplifted, stay knowledgeable, and spread the love. Thank you to all the workers here, and thank you, my library, for holding all of us together.”

~ Christian Q

Teaching Tech and Touching Lives

Teaching Tech and Touching Lives

Hear how one customer has been impacted while attending Technology Classes with BCLS staff member, Aubrey.

“Even when stranded at home with my car in the shop, I feel very thankful to Ms. Aubrey Carson, the technology instructor at my Berkeley Public Library System, for teaching me how to watch a movie on the library site! She taught me how to use my cell phone, how to navigate the internet on it, and on my laptop especially pointing out their different specific usage!

Coming to Ms. Aubrey’s sessions has opened up a new world that was hidden by my inability to catch up with the quick and forever changing technology! I have learned so much that I am now not only referring others to Ms. Aubrey but teaching them what I’ve learned! Ms. Aubrey is very patient, passionate, and such a symbol of what my Library System stands for! Ms. Aubrey has such an ability to translate any question that I have quickly into what I meant to ask with such an amazing, calm manner! I take notes to practice at home!

I originally came to Ms. Aubrey when I failed a much-needed refresher course that would have helped me return to the workforce! Ms. Aubrey, calmly reminded me that I was able to learn, and the fact that I came to the library sessions for assistance was proof enough for her! She was very encouraging, and she researched educational sites for me to practice. She would sit next to me or kneel by my chair to make sure that I was navigating correctly!

Noticing how she allowed me to ask questions even when I used everyday words, I felt more at ease, especially seeing how she was able to decipher them and to brilliantly turn them into technological ones! I then began to keep notes in my trusted notebook so I could practice at home! I was horrified when I lost that notebook, but I quickly obtained another one and caught up! I passed the didactic portion but had not finished the course due to a setback, but when I informed her, she simply said: “I know you are going back to finish”…and I am!

I could go on and on praising Aubrey and her ability to teach the sessions, that it would take pages and pages to describe how every session spent with her went, whether I am the only person or others are present! At times I wished no one else had signed up just so that I could have her all to myself because for however long a session would last, she would still ask if someone had an unanswered question!

Ms. Aubrey is to be highly praised for her role in enriching the minds of our citizens through the Berkeley Library System, and I feel very privileged to have her teach me. Everyone thinks that I am so smart, and it’s because of her!”

~ Nicole L.

Holiday Happenings @Your BCLS Libraries for Christmas 2017

Berkeley County Library invites you to help us celebrate the season with us. We are hosting an array of programs and events for all ages this holiday season to help get you in the spirit. Check it out:

Pictures with Santa

Santa is almost ready for his travels around the world, but before he takes right a visit to the library is in store. Photos with Santa will be available for purchase at $5.00 a page. You can create your

Bring your own camera for free photos or you can purchase a sheet of photos for $5 from the Friends of the Library.

own package. All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Berkeley County Library System.

Moncks Corner Library
Monday, Dec. 11th, 10:30 am – 12 noon

St. Stephen Library
Monday, Dec. 11th, 3 – 4:30 pm

Daniel Island Library
Thursday, Dec. 14th, 10:30 – 12 noon

Hanahan Library
Thursday, Dec. 14th, 2:30 – 4 pm

Goose Creek Library
Friday, Dec. 15th, 10:30 am – 12 noon

Sangaree Library
Friday, Dec. 15th, 3 – 4:30 pm

Crafts for the Family

Christmas Card Upcycle Drop-in Craft | Stop by the Goose Creek Library for a drop-in craft, and create a picture of a Christmas Tree by re-purposing Christmas cards! While supplies last.

Goose Creek LibraryMonday, Dec. 18th, 10 am – until

Christmas Cheer | Bring the whole family and come celebrate the holiday season at your library with crafts and snacks.

Sangaree Library
Monday, Dec. 18th, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Christmas Craft: Stone Painting | Love finding rocks in your community? Come in and paint a stone to give to your loved one as a Christmas gift or to hide for someone to find for the holidays.

Moncks Corner Library
Wednesday, Dec. 20th, 2 – 4 pm

Holiday Movies

Holiday Movie Matinée | Bring the whole family and come get in the holiday spirit with a free Christmas movie at your library. We will be watching “Shrek the Halls” and be having fun with Christmas themed snacks.

Hanahan Library
Thursday, Dec. 21st, 1 – 3 pm

Movies on Main with the Town of Moncks Corner | Celebrate the Season with BCLS and the Town of Moncks Corner with an outdoor Christmas movie at the Moncks Corner Regional Recreation Complex on Main Street. Movies are free to attend. Bring a chair or blanket. Food truck concessions will be available (no coolers please).

The Polar Express – Saturday, Dec. 9th, 7 pm

Elf – Saturday, Dec. 16th, 7 pm

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Saturday, Dec. 23rd, 7 pm

Friends of Berkeley County Library Celebrate #GivingTuesday

When you give to the Friends, it stays in your community!

Written by Kristen Lanier, Marketing and PR Coordinator for BCLS, Liason for Friends of Berkeley County Library System and Friends of BCLS

According to the website for the national movement, “#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community.”

The Friends of BCLS is included online in the #GivingTuesday directory found on This November 28th, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community, every little bit counts!

Donate Money | Donors who wish to give a monetary donation can visit and select the Friends of Berkeley County Library System in the directory or they can go straight to the Friends’ website and make a donation. (If you search for Moncks Corner, SC, you will also see the Friends in the nonprofits participating).

Donate Time | If you would like to give your time, the Friends have several upcoming events including a craft show with the Berkeley County Government, 3 outdoor movies with the Town of Moncks Corner on Saturdays this December, photos with Santa at all the 6 library branches, and serving as Santa’s elves at Santee Cooper’s Celebrate the Season festival. If you would like to know more about any of these events or other ways you can get involved and give your time, please email the Friend’s president, Sue Kelley, at

Donate Your Voice | If you are not able to give time or money to the Friends, the power of your voice can still make an impact. Please LIKE the Friends on Facebook and share your story about how the library has impacted your life or share their message with your Friends.

Every Little Bit Helps!

The Friends of BCLS 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.

Money is raised through membership fees, corporate incentives, 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 and the Winter Reading Program.

What’s Cooking at St. Stephen Library

So it all started with cake decorating….

Written by Tina Chenoweth, St. Stephen Library Branch Manager

Last year, Tina, the newly minted manager of the St. Stephen Library, had literally no idea what kinds of programs she should offer at her branch, so she tried a variety of different programs to see

what would stick. She simply observed the turnouts and silently gathered feedback. But when the cake decorating program took place, the normally sleepy little library was overrun with customers of all ages, clamoring for a chance to decorate cakes with Ms. Owens, our guest baker from the IGA grocery store. And thus began St. Stephen Library’s obsession with cooking programs.

Since that first program, the branch has hosted several different kinds of cooking programs, including:

• Candy sushi
• Egg rolls
• Tofu
• Homemade pasta
• No bake holiday treats

And they have more cooking programs that will be featured in their upcoming Cooking Academy series. Cookie decorating, sushi (nothing raw!), and a Downton Abbey style “high tea” are on the menu this winter.

Many attendees travel distances to attend the cooking programs at St. Stephen, and many library staff and family members are also fans.

The staff at the St. Stephen branch offer some theories behind the popularity of cooking programs. Donna T. reported that a family member signs up for every single cooking program offered and looks forward to attending. “For the homemade pasta program, he didn’t feel well on that day, but he came anyway – and was glad he did because he had a blast!” Vickie S. said that she learned how to eat something – namely tofu – that she originally thought was disgusting! “Everyone was saying negative things when I tried to talk them into coming to our tofu program – but the dishes prepared were totally healthy and delicious!”

Mrs. Owens from IGA grocery store gives cake decorating tips at the library. This program attracted attendees of all ages.

Food and cooking are social events; they bring people together, in more ways than one. Learning about other cultures through food and cooking is a wonderful bonus. Furthermore, in rural areas, poor diet, obesity, and diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes, are extremely prevalent, and the library seeks to inform as well as entertain attendees at cooking programs. With all of the artificial and potentially harmful ingredients in food these days, we could all stand to be more cooking literate and aware of what goes into our dishes. So come and learn how to prepare healthy and delicious food at your library, through cooking programs as well as a great selection of cookbooks.

Check the Family section online or in our Open Up! Program Catalog for Cooking Academy program dates and times:

Cookie Decorating
Thursday, Dec. 14th
4:30 pm

Homestyle Sushi
(nothing raw!)
Thursday, Jan. 18th
4:30 pm

High Tea
(Downton style)
Tuesday, Feb. 20th, 4:30 pm

Berkeley Chamber Rural Initiative Receives Funding To Continue Berkeley Career Express Program

Sources: Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce press release and Charleston Regional Business Journal article.

The Berkeley County Delegation secured a $25,000.00 grant for certified teachers for the Berkeley Chamber’s Rural Initiative. On Thursday, November 16th, Berkeley Chamber, Berkeley School District, and Google SC joined the Berkeley County Delegation to announce a grant that will fund certified teachers for Rural Initiative. This grant will assist in providing Digital Literacy and Career Ready Workshops, ACT Soft Skills Courses and Adult Basic Education/General Education Development (GED) classes, collectively known as Berkeley Career Express.

The Berkeley Career Express program was jump-started through a September 2016 Google grant with the Friends of the Berkeley County Library, in association with Berkeley County Adult Education and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. The overall unemployment rate for Berkeley County is 3.5%, yet it is estimated that in some of our rural areas the rate is as high as 15%. The lack of transportation to – and the affordability of – existing training programs, as well as a lack of access to the Internet, are very real barriers to success for the 33% of Berkeley County residents, mostly rural, who are either unemployed or under-employed.


Kevin Housand, President of Berkeley Chamber – “The Berkeley Chamber thanks, both our Legislative Delegation and Google for their vision in helping our rural residents gain access to the opportunities currently present, and those to come, in our County and in our region.”

Dr. Kevin O’Gorman, Berkeley County School District’s Chief Academic Officer, stated, “The purpose of the Rural School Initiative is to bring community organizations together in a joint effort to help remove obstacles for students living in rural areas. This work is exciting to see, and it exemplifies what we need in the future to ensure the success for all students in Berkeley County.”

The Director of Berkeley County Adult Education, Dr. Lillie Caldwell added, “Berkeley Career Express is designed to help adults in Berkeley County rural communities prepare to enter, re-enter or pursue employment that leads to a living wage.”

Lilyn Hester, Head of Southeast Public Affairs, Google – “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. In SC, Google has worked to eliminate as many barriers to success as possible for our neighbors in Berkeley County, and throughout the Lowcountry. In partnering with the Berkeley Chamber and local delegation, we’re providing residents with the tools and expertise necessary to stay connected and thrive in the digital age.”

Getting Prepared for NaNoWriMo


All use of logos courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

By Courtney Clark, MLIS, M.Ed., Sangaree Branch Manager

What’s NaNoWriMo?

Do you have the next great American novel sitting in your head, waiting to be written? If so, consider joining NaNoWriMo in November. If you’re not familiar with the organization, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. You can learn how it works here or follow the step below:

  1. Sign up for NaNoWriMo before November 1 and get your profile started. You’ll earn virtual badges to help keep you motivated as you’re writing.
  2. Get Prepared. The NaNoWriMo website has lots of resources to get you ready to write your novel, including blog entries, videos by famous authors, and writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing.
  3. Start writing on November 1. You can update your word count on the NaNoWriMo website as often as you’d like (or not at all).
  4. When you get a case of writer’s block, use NaNoWriMo’s inspiration, your BCLS writer’s groups, or any of the BCLS resources on writing to help you get un-stuck.
  5. When you’ve finished your novel (or at least gotten 50,000 words in), upload it to NaNoWriMo’s word counter to join the winner’s circle. All winner’s circle members are entered to win prizes!

If you have any questions about NaNoWriMo or how to use their website, visit their FAQ section.

Books on Writing provided by BCLS

The library is a great resource to help get you started on writing your novel. There are many titles available through BCLS, including:

Writer’s Groups

There are several writer’s groups around the Lowcountry to assist you in the writing process and get helpful feedback from other writers. There are also several writing groups taking place at your local Berkeley County Library branch.

Other organizations also host writer’s group meetings, including the Lowcountry Creative Writing Forum and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts Writing Groups.