By Bill Lee
Recently I received a Thank You note from a friend now living in Pickens County, SC. Most of her life was spent in nearby Lake View where her parents were educators and she, Beth, was a remarkable asset to that small Dillon County town. She was a library volunteer who might not give rise in your estimation of her importance but then you must not know the great influence that Beth cast on the community of book lovers there.
Beth was a nearly full time employee/volunteer of the Lake View Library for more than 33 years. She was never on a payroll, but she reported almost daily simply as one who loved working in the library so much that she considered it a privilege to mingle among the books and to meet her many patrons/friends who, with her, shared in the joy of reading.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dillon County Library, I was in attendance when Beth was honored at a farewell reception for her volunteer work at her library home. The meeting was attended by an impressive number of her many friends who had gathered for the party to show their appreciation for her many years of service to the library and the community.
After the presentation of a plaque and a letter commending her for her volunteer service, a reception was held and then an opportunity was given for those who wished to offer comments about Beth and to express appreciation for her years of dedicated service to the citizens of the Home of the Wild Gators.
Several patrons rose and commented that Beth was always available to assist in finding just the right book since over the years she had developed an understanding of what kind of book would be enjoyed. Each speaker stated that Beth made a special effort to locate books which often times would be those the reader would enjoy but had not known of their availability. Beth knew more about the reading habits of the patron than most staff members.
But a telling comment made by one of the attendees was that she realized from attending the reception that there was something about Beth that she had not realized previously. She stated that she knew that Beth treated her special, but now she came to realize that Beth not only treated her ‘special’ but she treated everybody who came to the library in an equally ‘special’ way. If there has ever been one that is irreplaceable, her name must be Beth.
There is a happy ending to this story. Beth and her family have relocated to be nearer family members and already she has been contacted by library officials in Pickens County to come on board as a volunteer there. How fortunate are those library officials and patrons down there to have this treasure in their midst.
I quote from Beth’s Thank You note: “…Volunteering at the library allowed me to do the things I love most—reading and helping others to find interesting books.”
Reading just got easier in Easley.
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547