The Abbeville County Library was established in 1936 in the Town of Abbeville as a Works Progress Administration library project. A bookmobile was purchased with WPA funds and stocked with a collection of books many of which were donated by interested citizens, business firms or purchased with WPA funds.
In 1942 Donalds Grange sponsored the county library as a community improvement project and the library was moved to Donalds where it was housed in the Grange Hall. In 1958 a concrete block building was constructed on an adjacent lot by Grange members and other civic organizations for a county library headquarters. This library building still serves as a branch library for the Donalds community. Its name has been changed to the Walter M. Agnew Branch Library honoring a long-time member of the Abbeville County Library Board and the Donalds Grange.
The Town of Abbeville in 1948 provided a room in the Recreation Center and a small stipend for an Abbeville Public Library. The library lost its lease in 1964 and was moved into an old house on the Abbeville Square.
In 1966 the Abbeville County Library, incorporating the rural bookmobile service and the town library services, was established. The new county system immediately joined with the Greenwood City and County Library to form the Abbeville-Greenwood Regional Library. To house the headquarters of the Abbeville County Library, the former Post Office building on Main Street in Abbevile was acquired and with the aid of an LSCA grant from the South Carolina State Library and county funds, the building was remodeled and attractively furnished. The new building was opened in 1969.
The quality of public library service in Abbeville County improved dramatically as a member of the regional library system. The county library system qualified for State Aid and for various grants of federal funds administered by the State Library. Local support increased annually keeping up with the per capita support required for participation in grant programs. An able board of trustees has worked faithfully through the years to ensure library development and programs.
The Abbeville County Library, in addition to the branch in Donalds, opened a branch in 1967 in the town of Calhoun Falls. In 1979 the Calhoun Falls Library Committee secured funds for building expansion and now occupies a building more than doubled in size with handsome brick exterior, central climate control and attractive furnishings.
With the Abbevile County Library headquarters, two branch libraries, and county-wide bookmobile stops offering convenient access to public library services, it is no wonder that more than 27% of Abbeville County residents are registered library users.
W.M. Agnew, Donalds, 1946-64
Fletcher W. Ferguson, Abbeville, 1964-
Mrs. Isabell K. Bowie, 1956-59
Mrs. F.C. Hawthorne, 1959-66
Mrs. John D. Hughes, 1966-
Estellene P. Walker,
"So Good and Necessary a Work": The Public Library in South Carolina, 1698-1980
(Columbia: South Carolina State Library, 1981), p. 8.
A note on the text