When Jocelyn Walker talks about Summerton, South Carolina, the pride in her voice rings clear. Walker has spent most of her free time working on several philanthropic projects in the Summerton area and one near to her heart is the Summerton Lending Library. Quaint, weatherproof boxes can be spotted inmany areas in Summerton from churches to community centers and public housing complexes. According to Walker, Summerton leaders have documented requests dating back to over 100 years ago asking for funding for a public library. After those re- quests fell on deaf ears, Walker and her team set to work to create their own celebration of literary arts. The lending libraries are independently run which allows for many different genres and themes to be circulated throughout the community. The Summerton Lending Library is based on a simple philosophy of “take a book, leave a book.”
“Books are everywhere,” said Walker, “and we are advocates for open access, at your fingertips literary arts.”
Due to the lack of public transportation in Clarendon County, many are not able to make regular visits to libraries outside of their immediate area. The Summerton Lending Library provides a way for everyone in the community to have a chance to read at their leisure.
Books are donated through the lending libraries themselves, but for larger donations they have a drop- off location at the Presbyterian Church in Summerton. They are currently in need of children’s books, as many of the public housing complexes have several families with children who enjoy visiting the lending libraries in their free time.
Most of the lending librar- ies are accessible 24 hours a day, which allows for those working odd shifts to be able to access the books at a convenient time for them. Walker said each lending library has a “steward” who looks after the library to ensure it is being used properly, the weatherproof box is maintained, and there are no inappropriate materials left inside.
“Even when the answer is ‘No,’ it is easy to break the cycle because we are independent and do not have to adhere to public funding regulations,” Walker said.
If you are interested in donating to the Summerton Lending Library, please visit their Facebook page and either send a message or call the number listed. In most cases, they can make arrangements to pick up large donations. This program is operated by several literacy arts advocates from the Summerton area.
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