Public library service in Allendale County pre-dates the establishment of the county by thirteen years. In 1905 a group of interested citizens organized a library and housed it in the offices of Mr. J. M. Patterson. In 1919, when Allendale County was formed, the library became a county library--one of the first in South Carolina. When the new courthouse was built, a room was provided in it to house the public library.
In 1941, with the assistance of the Works Progress Administration, a regional library was established serving Allendale, Barnwell and Hampton counties. With WPA help a bookmobile was purchased to serve the rural areas of all three counties. When WPA assistance was withdrawn, Barnwell dropped out of the regional library but Allendale and Hampton Counties continued to maintain some service in both counties. A small appropriation was made by each county towards the support of the library.
In 1950 the Allendale War Memorial Building was completed which provided quarters for the Allendale County Library and for the regional library headquarters. In 1947 Jasper County joined the regional library system and the library became known as the Allendale-Hampton-Jasper Regional Library. Since that date the history of the individual county libraries has become the history of the regional library.
No account of either the Allendale County Library or the regional library can be complete without a tribute to Mrs. James M. Patterson, "Miss Belle", and to Mrs. T. 0. Lawton, Sr., who served as library trustees both of the county and the regional library. It was their interest and determination that kept the library going even in lean years and eventually made it a valued county service.
Mrs. J.M. Patterson, Allendale, 1919-1959
Mrs. T.0. Lawton, Sr., Allendale, 1960-80
Mrs. Bernard Daley, Allendale, 1980-
Agnes Tison, 1947-51
Mrs. Katherine B. Maner, 1952-78
Estellene P. Walker,
"So Good and Necessary a Work": The Public Library in South Carolina, 1698-1980
(Columbia: South Carolina State Library, 1981), pp. 9-10.
A note on the text