ORANGEBURG—On Feb. 21, a group of community collaborators, including Save the Children, St. Andrews United Methodist Church and the Prince of Orange Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter, opened a “free library” to encourage and promote literacy in Orangeburg.
Mayor Michael Butler and Orangeburg Councilwoman Liz Zimmerman Keitt were on hand for the ceremony, along with the South Carolina state lead of Save the Children, Sonia Gass, and Destiny Johnson, lead associate for community engagement.
Save the Children works within communities to enhance educational opportunities and support children and families holistically. It replenishes books to free libraries along with creating “book nooks” in available laundromats and other businesses.
Each community leader spoke about the significance of working together to make Orangeburg a stronger community and the importance of reading among youngsters as a necessity for future success. Former librarian Celia Richardson spoke about the impact of books on students who frequent the library, and Sheryl King shared that DAR is more than just an organization focused on history, but the organization values opportunities of service fostering education and literacy. Also on hand for the ceremony was Dayna Arnette, the reigning Miss Orangeburg Plus and the new communications and youth director for St. Andrews UMC.
This literary endeavor originated when the Rev. Cindy Muncie of St. Andrews heard Destiny Johnson speak at a Rotary Club meeting. Muncie shared information with church members about Save the Children and its community goals. Eager to promote and work with community literacy, the Prince of Orange DAR members of St. Andrews began communicating and working with Save the Children to create the free library on the upper parking lot area of St. Andrews UMC.
Tom Kerr, a member of St. Andrews and Habitat for Humanity, built the box. St. Andrews Youth Group painted the box and later read books to children and guided them in a craft after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Save the Children, with DAR, will be replenishing the library with new books appealing to early readers and middle school children. Children living throughout the Orangeburg community are encouraged to visit and take a book from the library. These libraries do not want books returned, but kept in homes where families can enjoy the stories again and again.