From The Beacon: Share your story with the library

In our 21st century lives we use Facebook, Twitter, blogging, instant messaging, email, texting and even (still) make phone calls to connect with someone at work, home or another area of our everyday lives. And yet many of us go through our days and wonder if we are really being heard.

You might not be surprised to find out that Beaufort County Library is listening to you. We make it our business to know what you like to read, watch or listen to, and we build our library collections accordingly. We keep track of what kind of programs you show up to, and we plan our activities and services to meet your needs. While our resources are sometimes limited, your input helps drive the choices we make about those resources. Go to our website,, and take a look at our most recent strategic plan. It is based on the community input that you provided during our planning process.

For National Library Week this year, we're celebrating "Create Your Own Story @ Your Library" by asking you, the library's customers, to write the script.

From April 10 to 16, we're inviting you to share your story as we make a community documentary about what our library patrons have to say about their Beaufort County public libraries.

First observed in 1958, National Library Week is a national celebration sponsored by the American Library Association each April. Its purpose is to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use at all types of libraries.

Many school libraries also celebrate the month of April as School Library Month. There are other celebrations during National Library Week. National Library Workers Day (April 12) is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends of the Library groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.

Support Teen Literature Day (April 14) is aimed at raising awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today's teens.

In partnership with Beaufort County Broadcast Production, we'll be creating a documentary about our library system told through your words and your voice and we'll be collecting your stories during National Library Week as part of that project.

To participate in our documentary, call 843-255-6463 and tell us your name and what branch and time you'll be stopping by to participate or just stop by during one of the times listed in this column. If you can't attend one of our filming sessions, we invite you to call and leave your name, town and telephone number and a brief message about what libraries mean to you.

We're going to be sharing your stories on our Community Conversations Blog accessible through our website throughout 2011.

We can't do this without you. This project will result in an original video that can be used to promote our library system and our community, and it will be a record of the legacy of what residents did and thought during these challenging and remarkable times about the role of libraries in their lives.

This is about what libraries mean to you. Maybe you've got a special story to tell about how libraries impacted your family or how you discovered a new passion, new job and even new world at the library.

We're here to listen and we want to let you color in the pages of our own Beaufort County Library System story.

Here's our filming schedule:

April 11: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Beaufort library, 311 Scott St., Beaufort
April 13: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hilton Head library, 11 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island
April 14: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bluffton library, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton

Your library system and your community's history are being written each day; please take some time during National Library Week to stop by one of the libraries listed above to share your story and be part of this historic project. And look for the finished project to air on the County Channel during September in celebration of National Library Card Sign Up Month.