From the Beacon: Libraries celebrate open house

This Saturday marks the fourth annual open house for the Beaufort County Public Library. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., every branch in our library will present programs and performances that celebrate and demonstrate the many ways we work to positively impact our community.

Did you want to learn how to use Facebook or get a tour of our new Web site? Does a workshop on local history catch your attention? How about a live chorale performance, violin recital or even a few tunes from the Marine Corps Dixieland Band? If any of this sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday, then you can't miss this library event.

Take a look at the library's Web site, www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, and click on "Connecting You to the World" to see our full four-page, all-branch schedule. Then click on "Take our Survey" to participate in our strategic planning process. When you come into your local branch on Saturday, you'll have the opportunity to sign up for one of our Focus Groups. By joining one of these groups, in one afternoon or evening at the library, your opinion will help direct what programs and services the library system will focus on in the future. What's the message? Without you, our mission is not complete.

Our goal is to respond to the needs of our community and provide information, resources and training opportunities to make a positive difference in Beaufort County. Our Public Library Foundation recently has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Beaufort Fund to support our work force development initiative.

WorkStarts is the Beaufort County Library's response to hard times in the job market and in the marketplace. It harnesses the skills of professional librarians to the needs of workers and employers, through quick walk-in questions or longer, one-on-one consultations by appointment. Indeed, the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort County Adult Education, the Neighborhood Outreach Connection and a growing number of other agencies have partnered to provide programs and classes both in and out of our library facilities.

The library's role has become more visible in the current economic downturn. The Internet has served to expand the scope and depth of work force services that librarians have always been able to provide. Always ready to refer you to the most appropriate agencies, information and resources available to meet your particular needs, librarians help make sense of a maze of choices and set you straight on the path to the assistance you seek.

Our hope is that more and more people -- whether job seekers or employees, new entrepreneurs or successful business people -- will pay a visit to their nearest library and discover how WorkStarts may help them in their own endeavors.

You can also visit the WorkStarts Web site (click on the WorkStarts logo at beaufortcountylibrary.org) for librarian-selected Web sites on many areas of job-seeking and small businesses, in both English and Spanish. You can even attend a WorkStarts workshop during this weekend's open house.

Whether you need new computer skills or new job resources or you're just looking for a great book, children's story-time or a game of teen charades, there's something for the whole family at the open house.