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'The people are my favorite': Sumter residents forming friendships while solving jigsaws at monthly puzzle club

The Bits and Pieces Puzzle Club meets at Wesmark branch of the Sumter Library on the second Wednesday of every month from 3 to 5 p.m.

SUMTER, S.C. — Sumter residents unite once a month to challenge their minds and form friendships with jigsaw puzzles. 

The Bits and Pieces Puzzle Club meets every second Wednesday. 

"I said well you know I need something to keep my brain challenged," Sumter resident Joyce Hunter shares.

Hunter was looking for something to keep her mind active when she came into the West Sumter Library and heard about the new puzzle club.

"Bits and Pieces sounded like the very thing because it’s a little puzzling, you have to figure things out and for a person my age, I need to be able to do brain challenges and things like that," Hunter explains.

This was the goal Reference Librarian Karen McEwen had when she started it.

"After COVID, I was looking for things to kind of draw people back into groups and such and I came across this idea from several libraries across the country," McEwen explains.

Members come to the free club meeting on the second Wednesday each month to build puzzles and friendships.

"There’s Bob and Betty and some others that come," Hunter shares about the members that show up regularly.

"The people are my favorite," McEwen laughs. "We sit here and we talk about what’s going on and who’s doing what and it’s a big gossip thing."

Puzzle club not only providing friendships, but also relaxation.

"I’ll be with the people that I’m like. So as you get older you don’t need any drama. I have this little no drama llama and you like for it to be peaceful and quiet and Karen plays us soft, soothing music sometimes – classical, semi-classical music – and it just takes us away and we can really work on our puzzles then and relax, and we really need to do that," Hunter smiles. "I just feel like a part of this you know? I really do love it."

The puzzle club is open to anyone who wants to come – for free – on the second Wednesday of every month to the Wesmark Branch of the Sumter Library from 3 to 5 p.m. There are all different types and sizes of puzzle, so all skill levels are welcome. 

"Just come give us a try," McEwen urges. "And you might be like me and decide you really like it."

The library supplies puzzles that have been purchased by or donated to the branch, or you can bring your own. Members of the puzzle club can check out 1,000+ word puzzles to work on them at home.

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