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Community : Top Stories Last Updated: Sep 4, 2013 - 10:28:19 AM


Home Tour funds give library outdoor spruce up
By Elizabeth Bush
Sep 4, 2013 - 9:47:37 AM

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The Berkeley County Library now offers yet another place to curl up with a good book. Only this time, it’s outside beneath a canopy of trees.
The sidewalk leading up to the building’s front doors has been enhanced with two new park benches as well as some additional landscaping features. The improvements were paid for by the Daniel Island Friends of the Library through funds raised in the Annual Harvest Tour of Homes.
“It came about for two reasons,” explained Mary Ann Solberg, who is serving as co-chair of the Tour, along with Vicki Danziger. “Often people will ask us to do something to make the outside more inviting for reading…and then the Director of the Berkeley County Library System said a park bench would be nice, so from that evolved what you see…We are just thrilled with (the end result)!”
According to Solberg, the project also involved adding a slate stone surface under the benches, a new “more attractive” trash can, and two potted plants at the library’s entrance.  A third bench is planned for the future. Already the improvements have generated positive reviews.
“The landscaping enhancements, large planters, park benches with paving stones, and trash can, together all give the entry and walkway to the library a nice visual ‘punch,’” said Abbey Adams, branch manager. “It makes the library look attractive and well-cared for. When the outside looks great, it sets the tone for our customers to have a great library experience.”
The Harvest Tour of Homes is now in its 6th year (this year’s date is set for Saturday, October 5).  Since the event began in 2008, more than $60,000 has been raised to benefit the Daniel Island facility in five specific areas: book clubs, collections, physical plant, children, and programs/special projects.
“What we do is we operate on a wish list from the library,” Solberg explained. “They draw it up and we fund what we are able to fund. Book Club kits are always on that list!”
New projects they hope to support with future fundraising dollars include adding more storage for the facility’s DVD and CD collection, landscaping maintenance, and children’s items. In addition to the recent outdoor enhancements, funds from the Harvest Tour have purchased new shelving for the library’s collections, a display case, tables, puppets for kids’ programs, a drive-up book return box, an “Under the Sea” rug for children’s story time, and more.
“The Harvest Tour of Homes has been huge for our library,” said Adams. “…In these times of reduced budgets and funding, the Home Tour has made it possible to ask for something to make the library nicer and get it! It’s amazing!”
Solberg is hopeful that this year’s Harvest Tour will bring in between $15,000 and $16,000 for the library. Already, sponsorship sales are going well, she reported. Tickets will be available in early September for $20 each at Island Expressions on Daniel Island, Zinnia in Mount Pleasant, or from any Home Tour Committee member. The event will feature four distinct homes and four local authors. For additional information, visit www.harvesthometour.com.
Adams expressed her thanks to those planning the Tour for helping to make the library the gathering place it was always intended to be.
“We want the library to be a community hub,” added Adams. “And the Home Tour is great because it brings the community together to work for a common goal -- to give our community the best library we can.”
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