From The Beacon: District collection move no small feat

The long-awaited relocation of the Beaufort District Collection -- the historic materials collection of the Beaufort County Public Library System -- will begin Monday.

Known to library supporters as "the BDC," the Beaufort District Collection will no longer be located on the first floor of the Beaufort Branch Library. In a much-anticipated move to the second floor of the branch, the collection's new home will not only provide increased space for a growing historic materials collection but also will maintain these critical community assets in a climate-controlled and protected environment.

"This is no small achievement," said Wlodek Zaryczny, director of libraries for Beaufort County. "We have been working on this relocation for many years, but it was not until the community joined forces with the county that we were able to bring this important project to fruition."

In September of 2009, the Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County held a fundraiser to raise money to purchase specialized compact shelving that was critical to the completion of the collection's move. With a leadership gift of $20,000 from the Friends of the Beaufort Branch Library group, the Public Library Foundation event, featuring a compelling presentation from Beaufort County historian Dr. Lawrence Rowland, raised more than $40,000 for the collection's relocation. With this outpouring of support from the community, and partners including Historic Beaufort Foundation and the University of South Carolina Beaufort, Beaufort County Council identified the remaining funds for the purchase of the shelving and necessary roof repairs to ensure that these precious resources would remain protected and secured.

The collection will be closed to the public from Monday until Sept. 29.

During that time, library staff will conduct a critical inventory of all the historical and cultural materials and the equipment held in trust by the Beaufort District Collection for the citizens and residents of Beaufort County. Grace Cordial, historic resources preservation coordinator for the library system, is overseeing the project.

"During our research room relocation, we are encouraging the public to make full use of our Virtual BDC. These Web-based resources, along with local history sections in our branch libraries and the considerable skills of the rest of the reference staff within the library system, will help library customers with their local history information needs during this time," she sadi. The Virtual BDC, located on our Beaufort County Library website, www.beaufortcounty, is a great online resource that has to be seen to be believed.In fact, the Virtual BDC had more than 30,000 hits from July 2009 through June 2010. Here are just a few components of the Virtual BDC:

In addition, you'll be able to see photos of the progress of the move. When the collection is finally relocated upstairs, the library system will begin to look at converting the old space downstairs into a public meeting room. Beaufort County is certainly a hub of historic significance and the Beaufort County Public Library System remains a responsible steward of the resources we have been given.Because of passionate volunteers, generous donors and forward-thinking county leadership, the Beaufort District Collection will remain an invaluable asset for this community for years to come.

We ask you to join with us to offer sincere thanks to the Public Library Foundation, to the Friends of the Beaufort Branch Library and to Beaufort County Council for their dedication and considerable support to protect Beaufort County's past and preserve its future.