To the Editor:

From July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 our patrons saved $4.4 million by borrowing items from the Dorchester County Library instead of purchasing them.

Bill Collins

Bill Collins

During that year the library had 274,900 patron visits, 647,506 items were borrowed and 5,398 new library cards were issued.

This volume of activity took place in the two libraries – Summerville and St. George — serving our county’s 160,000 population. Our county has had two libraries for 40 years. Neighboring counties have multiple branches – Berkeley, six, and Charleston, 18. It is time we become more competitive and offer services that our burgeoning population needs.

In 2016 voters overwhelmingly approved an expansion plan for our library system but a lawsuit voided that election result. On November 5 voters will once again have the opportunity to vote on a $30 million expansion plan for our library system that will build new facilities in North Charleston, Oakbrook, Summerville and Ridgeville. We’ll be providing quiet study spaces, meeting rooms, teen zones, family spaces and outdoor areas.

Libraries are about so much more than books these days. They provide lifelong learning environments.

I hope you will consider how much libraries mean to all of our residents and support this referendum in November.

Bill Collins

Chairman, Dorchester County Library Board