Libraries try to book volunteers

Lisa Williams (left) and Rebecca Wright, employees of the Charleston County Public Library Main Branch, sort books Monday. A greater use of services in the past year has caused more need for volunteers at all branches.

The Charleston County Library is seeking volunteer help.

Cost-cutting has led officials to ask the public for help to keep a number of library programs going. Assistance for simple tasks, such as sorting and shelving books, is in demand.

The local Friends of the Library group last week issued an appeal for volunteers to step forward.

"We're targeting specific libraries where there is the greatest need," said Cynthia Bledsoe, the library's acting executive director. As many as 20 people are being sought, she said.

Volunteers will be trained and can work near home, she said. Some of the tasks include maintaining collections, working in the children's departments and doing behind-the-scenes work, such as filing or labeling.

Two of the busiest libraries are the St. Andrew's and Mount Pleasant branches, Bledsoe said, while the Dart branch on King Street in Charleston has the fewest staff members.

The county library system implemented a hiring freeze several months ago, and employees who leave are not being replaced. The request for help also comes as foot traffic in public libraries is increasing as consumers spend less and rely more on book-borrowing.

For more information, contact volunteer coordinator Susan Bednar at 805-6826 or