The Libraries of South Carolina
by Mary Frayser
Page 7
Bulletin 292 page 7
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How are Libraries Counted?

Each library system is counted as one by the American Library Association no matter how many branches the main library may have in a given area covered by service of the central library and its branches and stations. The modern county library has followed the example of big business and the result is the extension of efficient service at lowered per capita cost.

Books Available

The latest library figures available for the nation are for 1926. Only nine states had a lower book provision than South Carolina. The data gathered in 1930-31 in this state show only eighteen-hundredths of a book per person, or a little more than one-sixth of a volume for each resident.

The average book provision was also inadequate in the areas of library service in South Carolina both in 1926 and again in 1931, although a slight increase was noted for the five-year period. There were only forty-six-hundredths of a book per individual in the communities having any form of public library service in the latter year.

The standard of The Official Scoring Schedule for Public Libraries in Wisconsin is widely accepted. It states that there should be a minimum provision of "one and a half volumes per person in the average community and in a very small place a much larger proportion of books per capita is needed to allow any range of choice."

Table 1 --Total and per Capita Volumes, Book Circulation, and Income of Public Libraries in South Carolina, 1931
  Number of volumes Circulation of books Income
Total 304,756 1,097,439 $168,831.84
Per capita 0.18 0.63 0.097

Rural-Urban Contrasts

The data on which this report is based reveal a great disproportion between library service to rural and urban people in South Carolina. Thirty-nine and six-tenths per cent of the people of South Carolina lived in library areas in 1930-31. While approximately 94 per cent of the urban residents of the state had some type of book service, only 25 per cent of the rural people were so favored (see Table 2).

Table 2.-Rural-Urban Contrast in Population Served by Libraries Listed as Public, South Carolina, 1931
  Population Number served Per cent served
The state 1,738,765 688,757 39.6
Rural areas 1,367,685 340,407 24.9
Urban centers 371,080 348,350 93.9

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