The Libraries of South Carolina
by Mary Frayser
Page 8
Bulletin 292 page 8
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The American Library Association reported the use of library books in the United States in 1926 to average 2.13 per individual. The average circulation in South Carolina was sixty-three-hundredths of a volume per person in 1931 (see Table 1).


A comparison of the financial resources of South Carolina libraries with figures submitted as the minimum for adequate library support proves that a fundamental problem of library service in this state is that of income. According to data gathered for this report, the average expenditure for books for public libraries in 1931 in South Carolina was $0.097 per person, a figure approximately double the amount reported for 1920. The increase during the 11-year period is encouraging. But the present figure is far below the standard for financial support set by recognized library authorities. The Rosenwald Fund bases its help to county libraries on provision for a fifty cents per capita support. The American Library Association maintains that $1.00 per capita is necessary where the population unit of service is small because certain overhead expense must be met in even the smallest library if it is to give efficient service. The Rosenwald Fund stated its willingness to try the experiment of county library service on a fifty cents per capita support because of the enlarged group served, which makes possible a proportionately lowered cost per capita service.

Most of the libraries of South Carolina are small, and yet they are operating on approximately a ten cents per capita income, or one tenth of the amount necessary for small libraries which function independently and one-fifth of the revenue needed if the library is part of a system serving a large population unit whether city or county or other larger unit.

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