Local libraries welcome new director

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The Beaufort County Library welcomed its new director, Ray McBride, on May 4th. Mr. McBride brings with him a storied background that includes years of public library administration and military service.

Ray McBride
Ray McBride

McBride began his career in the United States Army in 1971 and after decades of service, retired as Command Sergeant Major, Military Intelligence. During his service, he lived and worked over a decade in Germany and two years in Tokyo, Japan. He was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for exceptionally meritorious service.

McBride’s library career began after his retirement from the Army, where in 1997 he joined the Darlington County Library system as Systems Administrator/Reference Librarian. There he managed the automated library system and was responsible for the training, installation, maintenance and repair of its computers and servers, as well as managing staff and facilitating technology training to the public.

After Darlington, he joined the Greenville (SC) County Library system in 2000 as Information Technology Manager where he supervised technology staff, computers and servers in one of the largest library systems in SC. Shortly after, he was promoted to Operations and Information Technology Manager where he also served as Project Manager for all new library construction (five branches).

From 2007-2013, McBride served as the Executive Director of the Florence, SC County Library System where he was responsible for managing six branch libraries and served as Project Manager for the construction of four branch libraries and one community center.

In 2013, he became the Executive Director of the Lake City (SC) Community Museum Society, Inc., where for two years, he managed a 501(C)3 non-profit organization dedicated to establishing and maintaining museum facilities and programs for art, agriculture, and history which included the National Bean Market, Jones-Carter Gallery and Lynches Lake Historical Society. He also coordinated the Pee Dee Regional National History Day Competition, ArtFields® and the Lake City Farmers Market.

He has served as Chairman of the SC LENDS Consortium Executive Board (2009-2011), President of the SC Association of Public Library Administrators (2009-2010), President of the Public Library Section of the South Carolina Library Association (1999-2001), and President of the Darlington County Historical Society (1999-2001). He has served on many Boards, including the Florence County Museum Board of Directors, the Lake City Partnership Council Board of Directors, the Lake City Community Foundation Board of Directors, the Ronald E. McNair Foundation Board of Directors, and currently serves as a member of the Scarecrow Press Library Board.

McBride holds a Bachelor of Science in History (Magna Cum Laude) from Campbell University and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from North Carolina Central University. He received the Lyrasis Excellence Award (2010) and was named South Carolina Librarian of the Year in 2009.

Each of the local branch libraries have planned Meet and Greet sessions with Director McBride. These sessions are open to the public and are sponsored by the Friends of the Library at each branch. Dates and times are as follows:

Lobeco Branch: June 8th, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon (1862 Trask Parkway, Lobeco)

St. Helena Branch: June 9th, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road, St. Helena)

Beaufort Branch: June 10th, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (311 Scott Street, Beaufort)