Local

Summer reading program gets 1-2 punch in publicity

By Steve Palisin

spalisin@thesunnews.com

Former heavyweight boxing champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, seen in a favorite photo of himself, will help promote Horry County Memorial Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Program, which begins June 6 for all ages, children and adults. The public also is welcome to see Smith speak at two county library branches – 10:30 a.m. June 7 in North Myrtle Beach, and 3 p.m. June 8 in Socastee.
Former heavyweight boxing champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, seen in a favorite photo of himself, will help promote Horry County Memorial Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Program, which begins June 6 for all ages, children and adults. The public also is welcome to see Smith speak at two county library branches – 10:30 a.m. June 7 in North Myrtle Beach, and 3 p.m. June 8 in Socastee. Courtesy photo

One punch line finishes off these phrases: “On your mark, get set, ... ,” “Exercise your mind, ... ,” and “Get in the game, ...”.

If you guessed “read!” then you’ve lit the lamp with a puck in the net, jacked a home run, or swooshed a basketball, and anyone reading ends up a winner.

With the 2015-26 school year in its final week, the clock’s ticking to jump in for Horry County Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program, through S.C. State Library, this marketed with a sports theme. The program starts June 6, going through July 29, with groups covering all ages: “Listeners,” through age 5; children in kindergarten-grade 5; students in grades 6-12; and adults. It’s free, too, with registration at horrylibsc.readsquared.com/.

Summer reading activities also are available through Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library and all four Georgetown County Library branches.

Clifton Boyer, director of Horry County Memorial Library, expressed the honor of having James “Bonecrusher” Smith – who in 1986 became the first college graduate to win a World Boxing Association heavyweight title – partner in this promotion.

“It could be a strange relationship with boxing and libraries,” Boyer said, “because you tend to never put the two together.”

The public also is welcome to see Smith speak at two county library branches – 10:30 a.m. June 7 in North Myrtle Beach, and 3 p.m. June 8 in Socastee.

Boyer said Smith – founder and chairman of Champion For Kids Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Myrtle Beach that mentors youth through boxing – frequents his neighborhood county library branch in Socastee, and that the manager there, Lee Brown, first got to know Smith by helping him with the computers and other library-related questions.

“This started a typical library/patron relationship,” Boyer said, “where customers becomes a regular library user, and over time, you learn more and more about your patrons as they tell you more and more. You learn a great deal from them when they ask you reference questions, because they almost always will give you the background to why they are asking a particular question.”

Boyer also said Smith – who earned a business degree in 1975 from Shaw University in Raleigh, and took up boxing while serving in the Army – approached Brown to see if Champion for Kids and the library could work together to promote each other’s missions.

Smith, born and raised in Magnolia, N.C. – about 50 miles north of Wilmington – reflected on his efforts to make a difference for youth and a sport in which he made a career, and how libraries remain vital links in each community.

Question | So, both of your daughters are librarians?

Answer | My oldest one, 35, is in Maryland, and my baby girl, who’s 28, she’s in Richmond, Va. My former wife is an attorney, and both of us encouraged them to be attorneys, of course. But, ... they finally decided to be librarians.

Q. | How has reading stayed so important through your whole life?

A. | I’ve always stressed the importance of reading, so much so that I wrote a book about three years ago, “M.A.D.: Make A Decision.” ... I encourage people to make good decisions. We all get mad about things sometime, and you want to think about what you want to do, and make sure it’s done the right way.

Q. | Halfway through “The Top of His Game: The Best Sportswriting of W.C. Heinz” (published in 2015 by the Library of America), I just read of some of the neat things that Floyd Patterson did in his post-boxing career. What reading engages your eyes and mind, and how have libraries helped you?

A. | All kinds of stuff, and I read many things on the Internet, too, including interviews. ...

I live in a community with a library that’s not too far away. I go in there and use the computers. ... I spend a lot of time in the library. ... I kind of fell in love with libraries later in life.

Q. | Through your Champions for Kids effort, through mentoring through boxing, and raising money for college scholarships, how special is helping make connections for such a positive influence?

A. | We have a lot of young talent in Myrtle Beach and Horry County, but some of these kids are falling by the wayside, and they can use that energy to become a world boxing champion – or whatever goal they set. A message from my youth is that we had to work hard. In my family, we were blessed by having both parents throughout our lives as children. A lot of times now, kids are trying to grow up without one or both parents. That’s difficult; that’s a tough situation. That’s another reason why I want to encourage adults to work things out. With marriage or in any kind of relationship, there are going to be issues, but that means working hard at working those issues out, because the kids are going to suffer if you don’t.

Q. | How exciting is your “Do Right” Golf Challenge benefit for Champions for Kids, coming up June 17-18, especially with your Boxing Legends Hall of Fame project – and inductions for Billy Backus, Bill Clancy, Carlette Ewell, Bruce Foster, Dale “Sunshine” Frye, “Merciless” Ray Mercer, Kelvin Seabrooks, and you?

A. | We’ve been telling a lot of people about this for a number of years, and we’ll have the first inductions, right there at Legends Golf Resort. ... And they can help as mentors to kids in Horry County, because if nobody reaches out and touches them, ... they will never be discovered. That’s another important thing with this hall of fame, to create some legends who will work with them.

Q. | How grateful are you to have the wherewithal to lend your helping hand in so many ways to the community?

A. | The Bible says so much about giving. ... While we’re here on Earth, it’s such a short period of time. Eternity is a long time. I want to make sure eternity is in the right place.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.

If you read

WHAT: Horry County Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program, through S.C. State Library

FOR: All ages – “Listeners,” through age 5; children in kindergarten-grade 5; students in grades 6-12; and adults.

WHEN: June 6-July 29

HOW MUCH: Free, with registration at horrylibsc.readsquared.com/

ALSO: See James “Bonecrusher” Smith, the first college graduate to win a World Boxing Association heavyweight title, speak at two county library branches – 10:30 a.m. June 7 at 910 First Ave. S., North Myrtle Beach; and 3 p.m. June 8 at 141 707-Connector Road, Socastee, between S.C. 707 and S.C. 544, across from Habitat for Humanity ReStore – No reservations necessary.

MORE LIBRARY SYSTEM INFORMATION: www.hcml.org, or contact a branch: Aynor (843-358-3324), Bucksport (843-397-1950), Carolina Forest (843-915-5282), Conway (843-915-7323), Green Sea Floyds (843-392-0994), Little River (843-399-5541), Loris (843-756-8101), North Myrtle Beach (843-915-5281), Socastee (843-215-4700), Surfside Beach (843-205-5280 or 843-915-5280), and Bookmobile (843-248-1544).

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS ALSO AVAILABLE THROUGH:

▪ Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library, 400 14th Ave. N., at Kings Highway. 843-918-1275, www.chapinlibrary.org, or email warrington@chapinlibrary.org.

▪ Georgetown County Library – Georgetown (main branch, 843-545-3300), Waccamaw Neck (in Litchfield Beach, 843-545-3623), Andrews (843-545-3621), and Carvers Bay (in Hemingway, 843-545-3515). georgetowncountylibrary.sc.gov.

BENEFIT TEES OFF: Smith’s “Do Right” Golf Challenge, in “Our Father” theme for Father’s Day weekend, benefiting Champion for Kids and the Boxing Legends Hall of Fame Museum project for Myrtle Beach – June 17-18 at Legends Golf Resort, on Legends Drive, west off U.S. 501, across from Tanger Outlets, near Carolina Forest – including inaugural hall-of-fame inductions for Billy Backus, Bill Clancy, Carlette Ewell, Bruce Foster, Dale “Sunshine” Frye, “Merciless” Ray Mercer, Kelvin Seabrooks, and Smith, at 10 a.m. June 18, with golf tourney at 1 p.m. on Moorland Course ($100 per player). More details at 910-658-3408 or www.championforkids.org.

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