Community Champions: Heritage Library expands reach during pandemic

Community Champions: Heritage Library expands reach during pandemic

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - In among the treats and delicacies that show up at the Coastal Discovery Museum every Tuesday, snuck a real taste of Hilton Head history last week.

“The very first thing that sold out was our Gullah history books. They were gone in a flash.”

And so was the Heritage Library from the Hilton Head Island Farmer's Market after a one-time pop-up book sale that gave local history buffs a chance to take home items of interest while also providing a fundraising boost for the library.

“We had a library branch in Beaufort. Our lease was up, it wasn’t renewed, and we had to empty our shelves. We are the Heritage Library, so our focus is on local history and ancestral research. So, what we are talking about is folks who are into their genealogy, really searching through and looking back to the 1600s and 1700s. They are doing the research and we have some of the books to help them do that. And, folks who are interested in local history.”

The library has copies of every book sold Tuesday at its main branch on Hilton Head, where it has limited capacity during the health crisis. So, the money raised by the pop-up sale will help the organization remain present in the community.

“At $2 a book and three for $5, we’re not going to be building a new wing to the library, but it does make a difference. It does help us meet our bills and during this time of pandemic, every single dollar counts.”

Even while allowing fewer visitors, the library might be serving more people by producing online courses on genealogy and local history that have expanded its reach.

“It’s been great because the people who normally come to our classroom and don’t want to be in a crowd for a good reason, can still take their classes. But the other thing that has been interesting is our mailing list and our membership reached across the Unites States and into Canada, so we have international visitors into our classes now and our first group of classes in July. We had folks from 18 different states attend those classes.”

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.