The Libraries of South Carolina
by Mary Frayser
Page 35
Bulletin 292 page 35
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There are in South Carolina only three well organized, adequately supported public libraries giving systematic county-wide service, and two others which are giving county service on exceedingly limited resources. The fundamental reason for this situation is that public opinion is still uninformed concerning the worth and service of a good free public library. Many of the other 51 libraries in the state are so inadequately supported and administered that they give a wrong impression of the service of a public library.

Public opinion and education laws in South Carolina, as in the United States at large, are causing all normal members of all racial groups to be taught to read. It is hardly worth while to teach individuals to read if good reading is not made available to them. As yet it is only accessible to a minority of the white and to a few of the negro race in this state.(11)

The book circulation in South Carolina is low. The per capita book circulation of 7.33 books for the state of California is almost as high for the whole of that large state as the circulation of Mullins, Marion, and Darlington, whose school district libraries lead South Carolina in their use of library books.

The data gathered and the comparisons instituted between library provision in this and other states lead to the conclusion that school and county library book provision are necessary if the state is to afford the children and adults of South Carolina the quality of educational and recreational opportunity offered through such provision in other states.

The pooling of school library funds and books with those of the county library has been found to increase the number of books available for school and general use at a reduced per capita cost. Improvement in book selection has also resulted from such action.

A study of the impetus which library stimulating funds are giving to libraries in other states leads to the recommendation that the state appropriate a sum for a library stimulating fund available to counties which arrange for county library support from county funds and perfect county library organizations which meet the standard set by the State Library Board.

The extension of the principle of federal aid to include a fund to stimulate county library development has been proposed. Such aid has been exceedingly stimulating to vocational education, to agricultural extension, and to road building. There is reason to believe that both federal and state aid would prove a great stimulus to the development of county libraries.

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