Library patrons often surprised at amount of services

"I didn't know you had that!" is a phrase our staff hears often at our libraries, and we enjoy sharing information about the many services we offer. Libraries have so many cool things.

It's no secret we have books, and lots of them. We have e-books, audio books, large print books, teen books, children's books and best-sellers. We have books about true crime, travel, cooking, pregnancy, learning computers, ghost stories, business, religion and so many other subjects. But our book offerings are just the tip of the library-service iceberg.

We have more than 120 public Internet computers throughout our libraries, and they are used every day. We have free Wi-Fi, no password required. For those interested in becoming more tech-savvy, many of our libraries offer one-on-one training or group classes. We offer all kinds of technology assistance, ranging from how to use a computer mouse to how to use advanced functions in Microsoft Excel and everything in between. You can take classes on how to navigate your iPad, how to download e-books onto your e-reader, how to write a resume and how to create your first email address. We have classes on exciting new technologies used at our St. Helena Island library, such as 3-D printing and imaging, movie production, Mac computers and more.

If you're shy about technology or just learning, you can book a session with a librarian at one of our five branches. We are happy to help you get started with technology, even if you've never touched a computer. Hundreds of our customers have successfully learned how to use computers, tablets and other gadgets by visiting our libraries.

Familiarize yourself with our online resources. Library cardholders can access Morningstar's online Investment Research Center, read the latest issues of Consumer Reports online (and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines), research current health and medical information through Consumer Health Complete, dig deep into their family history with our subscription to, and learn a new language the fun way with our Transparent Language service. Students of all ages can take hundreds of standardized practice tests through Learning Express Library, such as GED, GRE, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, the U.S. Citizenship Test and dozens more. Create an account with Brainfuse to receive live chat help on a homework problem you are stuck on. If you're writing a paper or resume, send it off to the Brainfuse Writing Lab, and within one business day, you'll receive professional feedback on how to improve your project.

If you're looking for entertainment, our libraries' shelves are full of the latest DVDs and TV series to keep you thoroughly entertained. If you seek social opportunities, attend our many programs or join one of our book clubs. Our branches even offer entertaining programs for babies and their parents, and it's a great opportunity to meet new people and have fun.

Call us and we'll help you with basically anything under the sun, or you can text us, too. Just text your questions to 843-605-4466, and one of our librarians will quickly get back to you. Visit our website at to explore the many reasons why a library card is the smartest thing you'll own. It's amazing the money you'll save by using it.

It is fast and easy to get a Beaufort County library card. Fill out a short form, provide proof that you live in the county and you'll receive your own card, on the spot. It's that simple.

Traci Cox is the information services coordinator for the Beaufort County library system.

Original story at the Island Packet