Novels in the BDC
As many of you may already know, the Beaufort County Library encourages reading in a myriad of ways.
Some folks like to read novels. Some folks do not.
Some parts of the library system collect novels. Some do not.
It comes as a disappointment to working novelists that the BDC does not actively collect or share novels through the Research Room or in the Local History sections at the branch libraries.
We have a few here in the BDC (about 15 linear feet out of more than 250 linear feet of books or approximately 6% of the total published format holdings). The vast majority are from deceased local authors such as Ann Head (the nom de plume of Anne Christensen Morse, born Beaufort, SC) and Mary Howard Schoolcraft, born Grahamville, SC, who wrote a novel defending the institution of slavery called The Black Gauntlet in 1860.
But one does not have to be a dead local novelist. We include a few still living and breathing novelists, too.
Other novelists represented within the BDC FICTION holdings are: Lois Battle, Annie T. Colcock, Marie Conway Oemler, Roger Pinckney, Pat Conroy, Grace Fox Perry, Francis Griswold, Valerie Sayers, and Chalmers S. Murray.
One's odds for having one's work added to the BDC FICTION holdings are increased: if the author was born or was reared in Beaufort County AND the novel is based or mostly based within Beaufort County. Long-time residents (which I define > or < as 10+ years or longer) are sometimes included. Reviews, in the professional literature or from fellow librarians, also a piece of the criteria for selection. Self-published materials have less of a chance of being added to the permanent BDC research collection, but the fact that the novel was self-published does not exclude a novel from selection. (Prime example: Kathryn Wall). And, of course, we've been dealing with ever constricting space issues for more than 5 years which limited the number of materials we could bring into the BDC for permanent retention. (It is so good to be moving soon!)
In other words, selecting appropriate fiction for the BDC has been even more complicated than selecting appropriate non-fiction for permanent retention in the BDC.
Bottom line: The mission of the BDC remains "to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history of the area of lowcountry South Carolina known as the old historic Beaufort District." We must concentrate our limited funds and focus on non-fiction materials about the history, culture, and environment of our part of South Carolina. It's our primary focus.