From the Beacon: Help needed to protect district collection

Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Dealing with recent economic challenges and what nonprofit forecasters call a cloudy financial future, philanthropy around the world is under siege. Just as the supply of philanthropic capital has declined, the demand for philanthropy has increased.
 
And yet, we are seeing a few bold philanthropists increasing their giving during this financial downturn. Such is the case with the generosity of Beaufort County Public Library's volunteer support groups. Filling the gap between funding and need, four local philanthropic groups are leading by example in these times of crisis.
 
Friends of the Library groups in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort (whose group also supports the Lobeco and St. Helena branch libraries) and the Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County have stepped up to the plate to help us meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of Beaufort County citizens. Every year, the Friends of the Library and the Public Library Foundation raise much needed funds through membership, special events and grants; these monies support library programs and activities that benefit every member of our community.
 
Recently, the Public Library Foundation, along with the Friends of the Library and the Historic Beaufort Foundation, hosted an event to raise the $85,000 necessary to bring the Beaufort District Collection to the second floor of the Beaufort Branch Library. This important library collection represents Beaufort County's historical assets; relocating this collection, including books, documents, maps and letters, is essential to preserving our past and protecting Beaufort County's history for future generations.
 
Most of the work already has been done, thanks to our county's leaders; and yet the library system still needs the $85,000 for compact shelving and adequate storage protection of these sometimes fragile items. The one-night event, "An Evening with the Beaufort District Collection," raised $25,000 which includes a leadership gift of $20,000 by the Beaufort Friends of the Library.
 
Deena Culp, president of the Friends of the Library group, knows there is still work to do.
 
"Our board wanted to make a bold statement about the importance of this collection to our entire community; so did the Clover Club organization who contributed the entire balance of their treasury," Culp said. "The Beaufort District Collection is the legacy of Beaufort County, and everyone who lives here, from Hilton Head to Fripp Island, from Bluffton to Bermuda Bluff and from St. Helena to Daufuskie, has a stake in preserving this amazing Beaufort County Library collection."
 
From now until Nov. 30, the Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County, is encouraging the community to get involved. Every gift made to the foundation to support the district collection will become part of the "Guardian Society" and every donor will have the opportunity to win a personalized, autographed copy of Dr. Lawrence Rowland's classic, "The History of Beaufort County."
 
Whether you use the library for books and DVDs, take a digital photography, computer or salsa class, or enjoy a book club or speaker's lecture, we invite you to consider the impact that our county library system has on your life. If you believe in what we're doing, then join us in protecting our one-of-a-kind historic resources -- you'll find good company and great philanthropists are not hard to come by here in Beaufort County.
 
Sandra Saad is the director for development and marketing for the Beaufort County Public Library system. She can be reached at the Beaufort library, located at 311 Scott Street, Beaufort.