The history of public libraries in the United States is filled with many starts and stops. Inadequate facilities and lack of sufficient funding plagued the early development of the public library movement. Early library service in York County faced these same problems. Many people have labored long and hard to build up the quality of library service presently available in the county.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of public library service in York County, we proudly issue this booklet about the history of the library. It is the intention of this booklet to relate the highlights of the development and growth of library service found in the historical materials of the library's archives.
This booklet is dedicated to all those who have loyally and cheerfully worked in and for the library to serve its patrons; to those who have patronized the library by reading the books and enjoying the programs; and to those who have supported the library with their taxes and good will.
With deep pride in the accomplishments of the past one hundred years, we eagerly enter our second century of service to all citizens of York County.
David A. Lyon, IV
York County Library
The first library association in Rock Hill was organized June 13, 1884, when thirty-three interested citizens met in Roddey's Hall in response to a public invitation issued by the Reverend James Spratt White in theRock Hill Herald. All thirty-three became members of the Association and elected the following officers: J.S. White, president; J.M. Ivy, vice-president; W.J. Roddey, recording secretary; D.D. Moore, librarian and treasurer; J.R. London, W.B. Jennings, J.B. Traywick and J.J. Waters, directors.
Within a few weeks, membership had increased to more than 100, and enough money was raised from fees and donations to order the first books and periodicals. During this time, the Herald was a major force in promoting the library campaign. Herald editor, J. Joseph Hull and Mr. White crusaded together again in 1886-87 for the first public school in Rock Hill. Their efforts resulted in the opening of the Rock Hill Graded School in 1888.
On July 15, 1884, the Rock Hill Library Association opened its first reading room in temporary quarters in the front part of Holler's Hall. This building stood on the corner of Main and Caldwell Streets on the site which later became the old Rock Hill National Bank. Captain D.D. Moore was librarian.
The Library Association secured a permanent home for the library when it contracted with Mr. White for the erection of a two-story building on the south side of Main Street. The library was to have use of the entire first floor for a nominal rent, with an annual lease guaranteed renewable for 15 years.
The cornerstone was laid August 28, 1884, with Masonic ceremonies. The library secured its formal charter on October 1, and moved to its new home in November. This building stood on what is known today as the corner of Elk Avenue and Main Street. It was later occupied by the People's National Bank beginning in 1906, and the Periwinkle Tea Room in the 1930's.