The Friends of the Beaufort Library (FOL) Board serves the 3 branches north of the Broad River in Beaufort County, SC. These branches are the downtown library at 311 Scott Street in Beaufort, the award winning designed St Helena branch and the Lobeco branch in the very north end of the county near Sheldon.
The Friends operate with a Board of Directors who do real work – we typically have people on the board who are responsible for the Book Sales (which includes sorting donations as well as stocking the Bookstores in the branches), Books Sandwiched In (selection of presenters, venue, dates and logistics), our 3 newsletters each year, membership, PR, volunteers, technology, children’s programs, sending thank you notes to donors and of course we have a treasurer, secretary and president. We are always looking for more people to participate who value education, learning and growth as much as we do.
Each Board Director can serve two 3 year terms for a total of 6 years. Of course life often intervenes and positions come open during our year. Our fiscal year is July 1 – June 30th but our annual meeting occurs in April when the full membership can vote on the proposed slate of candidates for Board positions as well as any other items up for vote. We have the ability to appoint interim Directors but like to start all new directors at the same time after the April Annual Meeting vote to minimize training and orientation.
We meet the first Thursday of every month at 4:30pm typically at the downtown Beaufort branch but occasionally at the other branches. The library director gives an update on the library and each of the branch managers give an update as well. The FOL directors then report on activities in their area. Meetings typically last about 90 minutes.
The primary ways FOL raises money is through our Book Sales and Membership. From time to time, we have special fund raisers – such as the drive for money to renovate the Scott Street Library. Books Sandwiched In (BSI) typically breaks even with donations from sponsors offsetting the cost of the venue – USCB Performing Arts Center. The BSI program began in 1987 and features 8 local people each year who review a book of their choice. This has been a very popular program over the years with 250-300 attendees each Monday at noon for the 8 sessions we offer – in January and February. We try not to repeat speakers.
The money we raise goes to the Library to fund projects, materials, and programs the County and State budgets don’t cover. Materials includes books, music, movies, e-books and e-movies as well as funding for online resources. Many of the programs offered in the branches are funded by FOL in the purchase of materials and occasional refreshments. Our goal is to help the library increase awareness and appreciation in the community for the free offer of information and learning services to everyone.
The Board uses a host of volunteers for book sorting all year long, at our Annual Book Sale the last weekend of September. The Marines help us set up and take down. A local boy scout troop sleeps with the books each night. But hundreds of volunteers assist with sorting books, acting as cashiers, manning the membership table, restocking tables as books are sold.
If you have an interest in learning more about the FOL Board or its volunteer opportunities, please contact our President, Marilyn Harcharik at FriendsBeaufort@gmail.com. And let us know if you have any special skills, like photographer, web maintenance, graphic design, videography, baking, proofreading, writing, marketing, fundraising, and on and on. We can always use motivated people to help us serve the library better.