Matching Funds for School Libraries

Richland One school children, 1935 In February of 1904, $5,000 was provided through the "Act to Encourage the Establishment of Libraries in the Public Schools of the Rural Districts" which stated that when a school raised $10 to establish a library, the county board of education and the state board of education would each provide $10 for the same purpose.
The annual report of the state superintendent in 1904 stated that books must be purchased from lists compiled by the state and that the school was responsible for caring for and preserving the books, tending their circulation and making sure that when they were not in use they were "kept under lock and key." There was a contract with Educational Publishing Co. in Atlanta to supply books and include a bookcase with lock and key (fee with $30 order).
During this time period, classroom teachers often acted as librarian. The State Board of Education provided supplies for cataloging the books. Children were allowed to check out one book at a time for free and other community members could use the library for a 50 cent annual fee. The teacher could also select reference books to remain in the school room.
After 1905, the funding was increased so that a district that raised $10 had $40 to spend on books and a bookcase. By 1908, over 1000 schools had taken advantage of the library aid. State matching funds continued in the 1914 act and in a 1919 library law. State matching funds were provided annually until 1927. The total expenditure for school library books in 1925-26 was $26,982.89 for White schools and only $205. 32 for Black schools.

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