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Avid reader was right at home serving on the library board

November 19, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – Janis Munnerlyn’s love of reading helped her to serve Florence County for 30 years.

Munnerlyn served as a member of the Florence County Library Board of Trustees for 30 years from August 1988 to August 2018, outlasting three county council members from her district and five library directors. She also serves on the board of directors for Crimestoppers of the Pee Dee.

“I was on the [library] board of trustees,” Munnerlyn said. “Jim Harwell appointed me, and then when Jim Harwell went to the bench and Russell Culbertson took over as county councilman for our district, and he kept me on the board. Then, when he retired, Steven DeBerry kept me on. So, I’ve been through three county councilmen.”

DeBerry is the representative for County Council District 6, which includes northeastern Florence County.

Munnerlyn said she was appointed by Harwell, whom she grew up with. As one of her favorite days in school was the arrival of the bookmobile, the library board seemed a natural fit for her.

“He never said that [why he appointed me], except that I read constantly,” Munnerlyn said.

She later explained that she reads approximately four books at any one time. She keeps books in both of her vehicles, in the sunroom of her home and in her bedroom. Munnerlyn described reading that many books at once as having separate conversations but remembering what was said in the previous conversation.

Munnerlyn also explained that whenever she finds herself waiting, she’s reading a book. This includes waiting at the doctor’s office or railroad crossings. She likes fiction and particularly enjoys reading mysteries. Munnerlyn also says she gives her nieces, nephews and cousins books for Christmas.

When Munnerlyn started on the board of trustees, the library was not in compliance with state law mandating a library branch in each incorporated municipality in the county it serves. Since she’s been on the board, branches have been constructed in all the municipalities, and the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation Library was built on South Dargan Street.

She said she was speechless when she saw the drawings of the library and when she entered it for the first time.

Munnerlyn recently retired from the board of trustees. She was honored by the Florence County Council at its October meeting.

“Thank you, Ms. Munnerlyn,” DeBerry said at the meeting. “About four years ago now, when I was running for council, the great Russell Culbertson introduced me to Ms. Munnerlyn and said she’s the one you need to know. I’ll tell you, she’s been a great friend of Florence County. She’s also been a huge supporter of law enforcement. She’s just a great woman: tireless in what she does.”

She was replaced by Tara Jordan.

Munnerlyn plans to continue to serve on the Crimestoppers board. She also said she plans to continue to manage her rental properties.

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