He may be a new face to Chesterfield County Library System, but Michael Kaltwang is no stranger to Cheraw.
During a Sept. 23 meet-and-greet, members of the community were able to share refreshments and swap stories with Kaltwang, the library system’s new director. He started work on Aug. 10.
Born and raised in Cheraw, Kaltwang said he has lived and worked in Chesterfield County his whole life with the exception of his college years.
“This career chose me,” he said. “Growing up, I always wanted to be in law enforcement, but I also loved computers, so I did both. I got my first real full-time job after college as a police officer for the town of Cheraw. After approximately five years, I changed careers, and worked in local industries as a computer programmer-network technician.
“One thing led to another and my skills and experience landed me a job working for Northeastern Technical College as their distance learning coordinator and SCTechOnline liaison.”
Kaltwang was able to work at the college library’s circulation desk every now and then.
“This is where I fell in love with library services,” he explained. “After a short time, I decided to further my education and eventually earned my master of library and information science degree.”
He started teaching full-time in the college’s computer technology department in the fall of 2008.
During the summer of 2010, he accepted the interim head librarian position.
Learning a lot during his short time in that position, he soon returned to the classroom. That time in the library, he said “got in his blood” and he realized he missed it. So he was excited for the opportunity to work for Chesterfield County and get back into library services.
In his position just over a month, Kaltwang says the libraries already have an efficient system, but he would like to expand their collection and extend their hours of operation, so those who work 9-to-5 jobs will have an opportunity to enjoy what they have to offer.
“We have a wonderful system already,” he said, “and changes don’t happen overnight.”
Also on his list of things to work on is growing the Friends of the Library group.
“They are so vital to helping the library system to fulfill its mission,” Kaltwang said. “Our Friends group provides financial support, countless volunteer hours and many other benefits to our system. I would also like to expand our volunteer program to help improve our ability to serve the wonderful patrons of the Chesterfield County Library System.”
Besides his love for the library and what it offers, he brings years of experience in teaching, computer programming, library work and the supervisory experience required of a librarian.
“I have only been here for about seven weeks now, but it has been wonderful,” Kaltwang said. “The library system here is a well-oiled machine and the staff are wonderful and everyone has been going the extra mile to ensure that I have a smooth transition into the system.”
There are five branch libraries in Chesterfield County including Cheraw, Chesterfield, Jefferson, McBee and Pageland.
There are regularly scheduled free events at the branches, including children’s story time and afterschool programs for kids ages 5-12.
Adults are also included. Seated tai chi, a low-impact form of exercise, is held at 10 a.m. each Tuesday in Chesterfield and at 10 a.m. each Wednesday in Cheraw. There are also movie days at each branch library every month.
Their goal is have the latest popular fiction as well as the classics. Large-print versions of many popular titles are available at each library. Patrons may also also check out DVDs as well as use the digital service available through the library website.
Patrons can also learn a foreign language with assistance from Mango Languages, audio books and e-books with Jasmine Digital Library.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.