"Time when no child will be able to remember what it's like not to have books or to visit the library ..."
Sounds like a dream, right? For the Beaufort County Public Library, however, it's one of the things we strive for every day. We believe that literacy is one of the most important aspects of a person's being and whatever we can do to foster it in a child will stay with them for a lifetime.
To accomplish this important task, the library has several programs for children of all ages. The largest program is the Summer Reading program. An independent reading program, it served more than 300 children throughout Beaufort County in the summer of 2012. This year, the program is being revamped to allow for online registration for kids of all ages, and that includes adults!
Additionally, there are storytimes and programs for all ages throughout the year and at all five library branches.
The most important program for kids up to age 3 is the WeeRead program. Presently, this program is at Bluffton and Hilton Head but is slated to expand to all branches this year. Begun with a grant from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, it includes special storytimes and classes for caregivers and educators.
During 2012, this program reached more than 800 children and more than 800 of their caregivers. It not only provides an education and fun time of reading but helps to show their caregivers the most effective ways to model reading. That modeling is most important because studies have shown that children who are read to on a regular basis (i.e. daily) and see reading modeled for them by adults do far better in school than those who don't. Through this program children are not only introduced to the wonders of beautiful board books and picture books but also songs, finger plays and so much more. The library truly becomes a place not only in their minds but also their hearts.
The program is not limited to the walls of the library. It's not always possible for kids and parents to come into the library during our open hours. Beginning in late July, Daycare Centers and Early Childhood Centers can contact us to set up classes for parents and caregivers.
For the times and locations of WeeRead programs, please visit or contact the Bluffton library at 843-255-6510 or the Hilton Head Island library at 843-255-6529. Our youth services staff would love to help you.
Scott Strawn is youth sevices coordinator for Beaufort County libraries.