While many people still come to the library for books, the computers have become a popular feature.
Libraries offer more than books
Barnwell County Branches
Barnwell Branch Manager: Kim Hatfield 40 Burr Street (803) 259-3612 Hours: • Monday-Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. • Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Sunday: closed
Blackville Branch Manager: Ruthie Hewitt 19420 Solomon Blatt Avenue (803) 284-2295 Hours: • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 6 p.m. • Wednesday: 2 to 6 p.m. • Friday-Sunday: closed
Williston Branch Manager: Jo Crider 5121 Springfield Road (803) 266-3027 Hours: • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 6 p.m. • Friday-Sunday: closed E-Newsletters: Subscribe to e-Newsletters offered by the ABBE Regional Library System including an edition about programs and events at the Barnwell County Public Library and This Just In, a monthly compilation of the newest books, audiobooks, and DVDs available to library cardholders. Visit www.abbelib.org to subscribe.
arnwell County’s three public libraries offer more than just books on a shelf. The Aiken-Bamberg-Barnwell-Edgefield (ABBE) Regional Library System operates the Barnwell, Blackville and Williston branches in Barnwell County. “The Barnwell County libraries continue to serve as destinations in their communities where people of all ages come together for programs, lifelong learning opportunities, recreational reading, school support, and job seeker services,” said Mary Jo Dawson, director of the ABBE Regional Library System. Use of the libraries in Barnwell County is growing. During the 2016 fiscal year, the libraries in Barnwell, Blackville and Williston were visited 167,000 times. This is an increase of 12 percent more than the 2015 fiscal year gate count of 148,000 visitors to the public libraries. During the visits, patrons checked out a total of 49,000 library items - 31,000 in Barnwell, 3,000 in Blackville, and 15,000 in Williston. The ABBE Regional Library System’s Digital Branch Library continues to grow in popularity with 30,500 downloads during the year. Patrons can select from a variety of eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and music by visiting www.abbe-lib.org and clicking on the Digital Branch Library link. The library system offers events throughout the year to engage residents of all ages, including weekly story time for preschoolers. The library’s annual summer reading program remains one of its most popular events of the year with 360 children and teens registering and participating in the reading goal. During the months of June and July, more than 1,150 children and teens attended a summer reading program at one of the libraries. In recent years the ABBE Regional Library System has upgraded its online services, such as adding Hoopla, a digital service that makes movies, television shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks and comics available to all library card holders. “We are aware that there is increased demand for mobile and digital technologies that allow patrons to view content outside our walls so we expanded a digital branch library to include access to Hoopla. It’s free and easy to use, there is no waiting period for popular titles, and automatic return means no late fees,” said Dawson. The Hoopla service at the ABBE Digital Branch Library makes more than 300,000 titles immediately available for borrowing online. Patrons can check out up to eight items per month. This is in addition to the materials already offered on ABBE’s 3M Cloud Library and Overdrive services. Dawson said they have more people utilizing their facilities for online services, such as filing taxes and using the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce website looking for work. “Thanks to a federal grant received in fiscal year 2014, the public libraries in Barnwell and Blackville are now offering access to specialized computer workstations with software and databases geared to users who are creating resumes, writing cover letters, searching for jobs, and completing online job applications,” she said. In the past fiscal year, the Barnwell branch had 16,142 sessions on their computers, while Blackville and Williston had 3,600 and 4,300 sessions, respectively. While use of the library’s standalone public computers has declined in accordance with nationwide trends, the 24/7 free WiFi, which is available both in each of the Barnwell County library buildings as well as on the grounds - remains popular as more citizens acquire smartphones, tablets, and laptops. “The public libraries in Barnwell County improve the quality of life for each of the communities we serve,” said Dawson. “I hope that every citizen in Barnwell County will visit one of our buildings in 2017 and take advantage of the programs and services we offer.” The library system receives funding from local governments, but also relies on donations. The Friends of the Libraries of Barnwell County is a non-profit group that seeks to raise funds for the three Barnwell County branches. Mail donations to P.O. Box 183, Barnwell, S.C. 29812 or learn more by calling Dawson at (803) 642-7575. The People-Sentinel • Information Please 2017 • 19
A guide to Barnwell County, SC