A History of School Libraries
in the School District of Greenville County

In 1951 the eighty-two independent school districts of Greenville County were incorporated into the School District of Greenville County. Prior to the consolidation, school libraries existed mainly in classroom collections. Below is a chronology of important events in the history of Greenville County schools.

Major Events
1923 The Greenville County Public Library bookmobile begins serving the Parker District schools.
1927 The Greenville County Public Library bookmobile begins serving rural schools on a county-wide basis. The books were mainly for classroom collections. Only a few high schools have a library room.
1950 High schools begin working toward accreditation and develop their own library collections.
1952 The first elementary library in the School District of Greenville County is started at Summit Drive Elementary School under the guidance of Mrs. Bert Martin. The PTA funded The library, funded by the PTA, is housed in the teachers' lounge. In 1956, the library was moved into an extra classroom and was open on Tuesdays and Fridays.
1958 Mrs. Betty Martin is hired by the School District as a library consultant to work with both the high school librarians and the volunteer elementary librarians. At this time, only Summit Drive Elementary has a cataloged and centralized collection of books. Three other schools, Donaldson, Stone, and Augusta Circle, have certralized but unorganized collections.
1958 Fifteen out of twenty-one junior and senior high school libraries have full-time librarians. National Defense Education matching funds (NDEA) become available for book purchases. Mrs. Martin develops a district handbook on using school libraries.
1959 The Centralized Catalog Department is organized to serve all libraries in the district.
1960 Mrs. Elizabeth Garrett is hired to work with elementary libraries in the morning and with materials centers in the afternoon. The centers were established to circulate supplementary books to elementary schools. There is still no district money for libraries. Elementary PTA committees purchase books, assist with book processing and organize the libraries.
1961 Using the South Carolina Library Standards as a guideline, Joe M. Forrester submits a "Ten Year Development Plan of Elementary Libraries" to the school board. The plan recommends a separate library room, five books per pupil, audio-visual aids, trained librarians, and a library activities program.
1963-64 The School District budget allocates 29 cents per child for library books.
1964-65 The district allocation is increased to 50 cents per child.
1965 A memorandum, dated May 27, 1965, outlines the criteria for the establishment of part-time library positions in elementary schools.
1965-66 Eight itinerant elementary librarians are hired - one librarian for every four elementary schools. Each librarian spends one day a week in each school and the fifth day doing desk work. The per pupil allotment is raised from 50 cents to $1.50. Book orders using both District and federal funds amount to $450,000.
1967-68 All 73 elementary schools have centralized, organized libraries and meet the state standards for staffing. 39 schools meet state standards for ten or more books per child. Most schools also have filmstrip, recording, mounted picture, and transparency collections. District librarians develop a handbook entitled "Using the Media Center."

Read More About:

The School District of Greenville County

Greenville Circulating School Libraries

Return to School Index

Return to the
South Carolina Library History Project

This page created by Donna Teuber
Updated January 17, 2000.
Copyright 2000 by the
Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina