The Libraries of South Carolina
by Mary Frayser
Page 21
Bulletin 292 page 21
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Organization of The State Library Board

From the time of its organization in 1915, the State Library Association realized the need of a state library commission or board and a state library field agent as the first steps in any plan for effective state-wide library work. A bill to create a state library Commission was introduced in the General Assembly in 1924 and at several succeeding sessions by members of the State Library Association. The South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs, through its library and legislative committee chairmen, likewise sponsored such a bill during the same period. These efforts were not successful, but they paved the way for the passage of such a bill in 1929. This legislation resulted from the efforts of the writer, the interest of the South Carolina Division of the American Association of University Women, and the work of the late W. Anderson Clarkson, then clerk of the Senate. Owing to a feeling against the creation of commissions, the word "association" was substituted for commission and a state library board to act as the executive committee of the State Library Association was authorized. The law specified that the board consist of five members to be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Education, and its business was stated to be the promotion of a strong program of library development throughout the state.

The State Library Board was created, but no appropriation was made to finance its work. The board appealed to the public for support through membership in a citizen's library association. One thousand dollars was raised by this means. It was met by a grant of $4,000 from the Rosenwald Fund. A field library worker was secured who served South Carolina from June, 1930 to March, 1932. A survey of South Carolina libraries was made by her because it was needed as a basis for any adequate plan, for library development.

A state library fund to stimulate development of county libraries and state ownership of book collections for lending throughout the state were recognized objectives which the State Library Board agreed must await improved economic conditions.

On completion of the library survey, service was undertaken by the library field agent to libraries which desired to reorganize and to catalogue their volumes in order that they be in condition to render the maximum service of their resources. Such help, provided a desirable form of in-service training to local librarians.

An appeal was made to the General Assembly of 1931-32 for support of state library extension service. It was refused. Because of lack of funds the office and field work of the State Library Board was discontinued March 1, 1932, to be resumed at the earliest favorable opportunity.

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