Book smarts and good hearts: The Sidwells are a winning combination

in Profile by

By Lanier Laney

Iowa natives Lloyd and Jane Sidwell “happened chance” on Beaufort when they presented at a Rural Social Work Conference at Penn Center in 1981.

And after retiring here in 2010, Beaufort readers have reaped the benefits of their good work with their devotion to the “Books Sandwiched In” program.

Lloyd and Jane Sidwell
Lloyd and Jane Sidwell

The Sidwells are both on the board of Friends of the Beaufort Library, which sponsors the Books Sandwiched In series, and this year they are co-chairs of the program.

Lloyd has a graduate degree in social work from the University of Iowa and is a retired CEO of nonprofit family service and mental health organizations in Michigan, Illinois, and Houston, Texas.  He led multi-corporate organizations from the late 1960’s to 2004 when he retired as CEO of Family Services of Greater Houston. Since moving to Beaufort he has completed the Senior Leadership Program and the Beaufort County Police Academy.  He is currently working on the United Way Campaign-Neighborhood Ambassador Program.

Jane — who has a graduate degree in social work from Washington University as well as a nursing degree and is current president of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation — was appointed to the Tourism Development Advisory Committee (TDAC) of the Beaufort City Council a year ago and serves as recording secretary of Chapter W, P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization).

The two began working on the Books Sandwiched In (BSI) project in 2011 when they joined the Friends of the Library board and were mentored by Sherry Hirsch and Gretchen Blickle, who were co-chairing the project at that time.  They then worked with the selection committee in the Spring of 2012 to plan for the 2013 season and, again, now, for the 2014 season.

Jane said, “It is always exciting to work with the selection committee in April to begin identifying the individuals and books to be considered for the upcoming season. We and the committee try to identify persons of local interest — authors, community leaders, ‘experts’ on particular topics, and ‘celebrities.’ It has been our hope, and the BSI tradition, that both the book AND the presenter are of interest to our audience.”

Adds Lloyd, “We know that audience favorites are those presenters who offer anecdotal experience, personal insight, and entertain the audience.”

Books Sandwiched In is offered as a free program to the community, but the hope is that it will bring new memberships and donations to the Friends of the Library, as well as participation in library events.

Says Jane, “This year we have some exciting new donations such as a getaway package from Palmetto Bluff, rounds of golf at Dataw and Sanctuary, and books by local authors to offer as ‘drawings’ to our audience.”

“This is a reading community,” said Lloyd about Beaufort. “We have heard from some of our audience that they have been attending for over 20 years!  With the wealth of local authors and the eagerness of our audience to hear book presentations and participate in discussion, it is easy to plan the BSI program!”

The kick off for the new season is this Monday, January 6. Jane invites the community to come to USCB Center for the Arts at 11:30 a.m. to enjoy coffee, cookies and presentations of great books.

“This year, we are trying a new ending to the program with an evening presentation on Monday, March 3, with Debbi Covington presenting her book, ‘Celebrate Everything!’ Following her presentation, we will offer all participants a ‘celebration’ with Debbi’s appetizers and wine!”

What could be a better night in Beaufort than that?!

Books Sandwiched In is a free program held at USCB Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort, every Monday (except January 21) through March 3. Each week, a local presenter will discuss a book. Refreshments at 11:30 a.m., program lasts from noon to 1 p.m. For a complete list of books and presenters or for more information about Friends of the Beaufort Library, visit www.beaufortcountylibrary.org.