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For The Lancaster News
The Carolinas Literacy Network’s (CLN) goal is to provide the Lancaster community with different resources to promote literacy in all of its forms.
One way it does that is with the Second Glance, Second Chance book exchange, a bookstore that lets readers come and select books to read and keep for free.
The program started in November 2009, and has more than 9,000 books to choose from.
From mystery to history, and biography to romance, there is something for everyone.
“Since we started the program, we have received well over 20,000 donated books,” said Kathy Wilds, the network’s executive director. “We got a big boost in the beginning from the American Association of University Women. They have a chapter in Aiken and somehow got word of what we were trying to do. They put on an annual used book sale, and invited us to come with a caravan to pick up and bring back any books that weren’t sold. That was an enormous help to us.”
Danielle Faulkenberry, a former employee with the network and now director of off-campus programs at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, came up with the idea for the bookstore.
“It was July of 2009, and I had just been hired at CLN,” Faulkenberry said.
“I had gone on vacation with my family to the mountains, and we visited Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock, N.C. They had a bookstore very similar to this and I thought it was fascinating. I decided I wanted that to be my first project.”
Faulkenberry wasted no time in getting the project off the ground.
She put a public service announcement in The Lancaster News and began receiving donations immediately.
“It was really something,” she said. “It was only like a four-line announcement, asking for book donations, and within six months we had about 7,000 books.”
“This provides something clearly unique that is valued by the community,” Wilds said.
“Wilds said that children’s books are extremely popular, and usually fly off the shelves quickly.
“We cannot keep children’s books,” she said. “When word gets out that we have gotten some more in, they go fast. One neat thing is that we are a part of Livi’s Library and we have a bookshelf dedicated just to that.”
Livi’s Library is a program started by Lisa Pettit and family following the death of 9-year-old Olivia Pettit, who was a student at North Elementary School. The Petit family collects gently-used, high quality children’s books and makes them available to children in the community.
“Olivia was an exceptional child,” Wilds said. “She loved to read and had a very giving and gentle spirit. Livi’s Library was created to honor her memory and her love of reading. It’s really a marvelous program and they are preparing to take it statewide now. We are very pleased to be a part of that.”
People of all ages and all walks of life come the Carolinas Literacy Network for books, Wilds said.
“It certainly isn’t just children,” she said. “All types of people come in and browse the books, and sit down to read for a while. We’ve noticed an increase in traffic in the store lately, and it is obvious that this is a service that is appreciated. A lady came in not too long ago and just went on and on about what a marvelous and helpful program this is.”
Some people use the bookstore’s resources to give back to the community in other ways as well.
“We have one lady who comes in on a regular basis and carefully selects many books, which she takes to shut-ins, nursing homes, and the Lancaster Children’s Home. That is something that we really like to see.”
Wilds said the bookstore was honored earlier this year by a first-grade class from Orchard Park Elementary School in Fort Mill.
“They heard about us and what we do,” she said. “Their teacher is getting her master’s degree in literacy, so they held a book drive in her honor. They collected books that they loved, but were ready to pass on to others. With two efforts in that book drive, they donated over 300 children’s books to our bookstore. That was really amazing.”
Faulkenberry is still turning out good ideas on behalf of Carolinas Literacy Network. Her latest project has USCL working in conjunction with Carolinas Literacy Network and the Lancaster County Public Library in yet another attempt to get books into the hands of community residents.
“What we are planning to do is use the library’s bookmobile, which has been taken off the road because there just isn’t a demand for it like there used to be,” she said. “The program is unofficially titled, ‘Sir Lance the Reader,” and what we want to do is put some books from the bookstore on the bookmobile and take it to community events where there will be a lot of people. For example, events like the Red Rose Festival. USCL students would be on the bookmobile passing out books. I am really excited about it, and we are hoping to get that started at the end of August.”
The “Second Glance, Second Chance” bookstore is located inside the Carolinas Literacy Network office, at 105 W. Dunlap St. in Lancaster. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cold water is available for $1 per bottle and coffee is available for $1.50 per cup. For details, call (803) 285-8805.