How Libraries Support At-Home Learning

by Jennifer, Youth Services Librarian

Adult and child at a laptop

Recently, a Facebook group of which I am a member changed its name from “Librarians Serving Homeschool Families” to “Librarians Serving At-Home Learners and Homeschoolers.” Parents are more involved than ever in their children’s education, and it’s imperative that they know all the resources that are available to them, especially the ones that cost little to nothing.  Enter the public library.

The Anderson County Library System is part of a consortium of twenty county library systems in South Carolina that share books and other items.  If we don’t have a book in Anderson County, but Beaufort County has it, you can put it on hold from wherever you are and have it brought to your nearest library branch, and it usually takes less than a week. The following chart shows how to save almost $300.00 on just a few items by using the library instead of purchasing books for your class.

Savings From Using the Library
Charlotte’s Web6.40
Wind in the Willows, The18.94
Where the Sidewalk Ends10.99
Aesop’s Fables9.89
Pilgrim’s Progress22.99
Velveteen Rabbit, The8.39
Grimm’s Fairy Tales36.49
Magic Treehouse set (Books 1-28)100.86
Boxcar Children set (Books 1-12)48.95
Jane Eyre11.94
Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry20.11
Total Savings:$295.95
*prices retrieved from Amazon September 14, 2020

But what if you need an item right away? Digital resources make that entirely possible. The Hoopla and Libby apps allow you to download e-books, audiobooks, music, and videos straight to your device. Want to take a free online course? The library offers the popular Universal Class on our website if you have a library card.  From Accounting to Web Development, Universal Class has dozens of topics for you, including more than 40 online courses under the “Homeschooling” category alone. Do you have a teen learning to drive? You can the find current SC DMV practice tests. Do you need a tutor for your child? No problem. offers one-to-one tutoring anytime, anywhere at no cost to you.

Learning at home presents many challenges. The library’s new resource Creativebug offers innovative ideas for making science fun.  Are you studying polymers? Let Creativebug show you how to make Galaxy Slime. (Full disclosure: I did this with my middle school age niece and nephew and it was a hit!) Are you studying the states of matter? Ponder the soap bubble: is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas? Creativebug shows you a great recipe for bubble solution that produces bubbles far sturdier than any solution you’ll find in the stores. (Another hit with my niece and nephew.) It’s science. It’s fun. It’s all available through the library.

Libraries all over the country have valuable resources online to help at-home learners and their families succeed. Here are just a few to spark your ideas for a successful school year. September is National Library Card Sign up month.  Stop by your nearest library to get yours today.

Mansfield Richland County Public Library in Ohio’s list of Helpful Websites for At-Home Learning.

Plano Public Library in Texas’s STEAM Connections

Finally, I encourage each family to download the Flipster app, which allows access to leading digital magazines on your mobile device. This can be limited to Family & Children’s resources, and includes the popular National Geographic for Kids, as well as Muse, which encourages reading for fun as well as learning.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Information and updates regarding COVID-19 and the Anderson County Library System can be found on our website at

Meet the New Assistant Director

Annie Sutton
Annie Sutton

The Anderson County Library System welcomes Annie Sutton as the new Assistant Director this month. She takes over from Janet Price, who retired in December after twelve years with the Library to spend more time with her family, including her granddaughter.

Annie, the South Carolina Library Association’s 2019 Outstanding Librarian, is a familiar face at the Library and around Anderson. She has been the Library’s Head of Access Services since 2014, overseeing the Circulation Department and the branch managers, as well as leading successful book clubs and volunteering her time with The LOT Project, United Way, PAWS, and more.

Get to know the new Assistant Director, Annie!

  • You are originally from Indiana, but have been in Anderson for 13 years now. What are some things you appreciate about the community?

Thirteen years is a significant amount of time to spend in an area, and I’ve loved being able to see how it has embraced change and growth. Downtown Anderson has really flourished and the community continues to add events and resources for its residents. I’ve also noticed and been able to be a part of organizations banding together to better address taking care of those in need in our community.  

  • You’ve seen quite a few changes with the Library over your career. What are some things that have changed, and what has stayed the same?

I would say that overall our basic services have remained the same and likely will continue to do so. We have always provided materials to check out, reference services, programs for children, and meeting spaces for community groups. 

What’s changed is the focus of some of those services. Since I’ve been at the library we’ve added digital resources (like eBooks) for patrons to check out.  Our programming has been updated to also include teens, tweens, and adults. We’ve also expanded programs to take on a larger scope over the years, like the How-To Fair, Comic Con, and Books & Community.  

Our physical spaces have adapted as needed. Thirteen years ago we needed more room for computers. Now, we are making more room for small groups to meet and work. The teen department and Electric City Creative makerspace – and even the library’s social media – are entirely new spaces that have been added in my time here.

  • What are you most excited about for the future of the Anderson County Library System?

I’m always excited to see how we can continue to meet the needs of our patrons. As a library we strive to remain relevant and that often brings changes in what we offer… new programs, new kinds of items to check out, new kinds of spaces, new partnerships. It’s fun!

  • Do you have any pets?

Ha ha ha, yes, I have two dogs! Oakley is a black lab rescue; he’s sweet and shy.  Elmer came to me this year as a foster from Anderson County PAWS (where I volunteer) and I decided to keep him. He’s energetic and super cute.  Both love going to daycare and provide a ton of laughs and fun.  Remember: adopt, don’t shop!   

  • Since picking a favorite book can be way too difficult, can you tell us instead about what you’re currently reading?

I’m reading The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg and listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Both are for library book clubs that I help lead! 

Please join Director Faith Line and the entire library staff in welcoming Annie to her new role. And look for more exciting programs and services thanks to Annie’s leadership at Anderson County Library!

Award-Winning Librarians

Annie Sutton and Faith Line Win Awards at SCLA 2019

Two Anderson County librarians were honored by the South Carolina Library Association at the annual conference this October. Annie Sutton is the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Librarian Award, and Faith Line is the recipient of the 2019 Hall of Fame Award.

Annie Sutton joined the Anderson County Library System in 2006 as a reference librarian, and soon became ACLS’ first Teen Librarian. Annie moved on to manage the Powdersville Library, one of the largest and fastest growing libraries in Anderson County. In 2014, Annie advanced to her current role as Head of Access Services.

Annie is an outstanding librarian and advocate for the library as an essential community resource and space for all. In the past 5 years, she has led the Library System in many initiatives and improvements: overseeing 2 major library renovations, and a reworking of the Anderson Main Library for improved access and accessibility of our fiction, audio/visual, and magazine collections. Annie established the Jonathan Gambrell Teen Room in 2008 to meet the needs of teens in the community. She is instrumental in leading community events, establishing and growing outreach programs like Brews and Books Book Club and the How-To Fair. Annie goes above and beyond her job in providing essential leadership for major library programs that have brought in 1,000+ people to the library in a single day. Beyond her work as Head of Access Services, Annie is active in the Anderson community, volunteering her time with the United Way, the LOT Project, PAWS, and others.

Faith Line has over 30 years of excellence in library leadership. Faith’s public library career began in Pickens County Library System. She moved on to be Director of Sumter County Library System before becoming Director of the Anderson County Library System in 2007.

Faith’s dedication to the Anderson County Library System as well as improved library access for people across South Carolina deservedly puts her in the South Carolina Library Association Hall of Fame. Faith has been instrumental in establishing the Palmetto Polaris and SCLends consortiums of South Carolina libraries, which create a network of member library systems and greatly expand available books and materials. Currently, Faith is helping create an Upstate cooperative vision of area libraries, including Anderson, Pickens and Oconee County Libraries; TCTC Learning Commons; and Southern Wesleyan, Anderson University, and Clemson University libraries. Faith has overseen the improvement and remodeling of 6 Anderson County Library branches. Most recently, under her leadership Anderson County Library won a Duke Energy Foundation grant for a fishing and water conservation education program, adding fishing equipment to the list of items patrons can check out.

Faith is an active member of the Anderson community, contributing to organizations such as the Alston-Wilkes Society, First Steps, Foothills Alliance, United Way, Anderson Chamber of Commerce, Anderson University Lifelong Learning, and Rotary International. In 2018, she won the Anderson Chamber of Commerce Athena Award for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

On November 5, 2019, Anderson County Council recognized and honored both Annie Sutton and Faith Line for their service and dedication to the Anderson County Library System.

eBooks and the Library

One of the things I love talking to our patrons about is eBooks. I love the beginning of the conversation – “Did you know the library has eBooks you can check out as well?” When a book is hard to find on the shelves, I love checking the Digital Library to see if it’s available there. And I love hearing about patrons who take advantage of some great eBook features – making the text bigger or using the dyslexic font to increase readability.

However, I don’t love having to share this news about eBooks and our ability to make them easy and available for you. Macmillan, one of the “Big 5” publishers, will be changing how they make eBooks available for libraries to purchase. This may mean you see much longer holds lists in Overdrive or Libby for some of your favorite authors.

Before I get to the details, let me give you a quick overview of how eBbooks and digital audiobooks are made available for you. In Hoopla Digital, you browse through a set catalog of digital books, movies, music, comics, and audiobooks. Then, when you check something out, the Library is charged for that checkout. That’s why you never have to place any holds in Hoopla Digital, but that is why the Library has had to set fewer checkouts for each patron, so we can manage the cost a little easier.

In Overdrive and Libby, the eBooks and audiobooks are much like our physical book collections. We purchase one or more copies of a book, and then when all those copies are checked out, you place a hold. When the number of holds on a particular book becomes too big, we purchase extra copies to help keep that wait shorter so you can start reading sooner.

Macmillan is taking away our ability to purchase any additional copies of an eBook for the first 8 weeks of its publication.

That means that for new books published by Macmillan, there will be only one eBook available for all of Anderson County. For authors like Nora Roberts, Louise Penny, C. J. Box, and Kristin Hannah, we will only have one eBook available of their newest book for 8 weeks. Then, after those 8 weeks are over, we will be able to purchase additional copies.

Fortunately, this doesn’t affect any physical books or audiobooks, and so far is only limited to Macmillan’s eBooks. But we still don’t like this limitation. It keeps us from being able to provide you with free, easy access to the books you love.

So what can you do?

  1. Please keep using our Digital Library. We can’t demonstrate the value and need for access without your support in this way.
  2. Let Macmillan know what you think.  You can send them an email at
  3. If you do check out the book from one of our libraries or otherwise get a copy of the book, please consider cancelling your hold in Overdrive or Libby. That way we can get the eBook faster to others who are waiting.
  4. Read more about eBooks and libraries. Libraries are fighting for fair and equal access to books for everyone, especially through the #eBooksForAll campaign.

After Tor Experiment, Macmillan Expands Embargo on Library E-books – Publishers Weekly