The Dillon County Library traces its beginnings to the establishment of the Latta Public Library in June 1914. In 1911 Reverend W. C. Allen, pastor of the Baptist Church in Latta, began to agitate the matter of a public library for the town. The town council endorsed his efforts and a library Association was formed and duly chartered. Through the efforts of the Association a $5,000 grant was secured from the Carnegie Foundation for a library building on condition that the town furnish a lot and provide $500 annually for library maintenance. Mr. C.F. Bass gave a lot in the center of town easily accessible from all sections as the site of the library. The maintenance fund of $500 was guaranteed by placing a one mill tax on all property in the Latta School District.
Mr. H.A. Bethea was elected chairman of the Latta Library Board and was later honored by being selected the first chairman of the South Carolina State Library Board. In 1930 the Board of the Latta Library decided to undertake to provide county-wide library service. The County Legislative Delegation increased the library's support by placing a tax of 1/2 mill on all property in Dillon County to fund the expanded program.
During the Depression, the WPA library project provided valuable help to the library. Among the benefits the library received were additional personnel, binding and book repair, and a large annex added to the building in 1936.
In 1954 in addition to a modern new bookmobile, a north wing was added to the building together with a heating and air conditioning system for the entire building.
When Mrs. C.E. Bethea retired in 1972 after forty-two years as director of the library, the South Carolina State Library offered a special project to the Dillon County Library which would enable it to employ for the first time a professional librarian. The Board accepted the offer and in June the new librarian reported for duty.
The Dillon County Library, in addition to its county-wide bookmobile service and headquarters library, operates two branch libraries. The Dunbar Memorial Library in the town of Dillon was established through the generosity of Mrs. Ida Stackhouse Dunbar, who left the City of Dillon a handsome mansion and a bequest of $10,000 to initiate public library service. The library was opened in 1949. The building was extensively remodeled with new furnishings added in 1979. The Lake View Library is also a branch of the Dillon County Library. This library resulted from the efforts of the Friday Afternoon Book Club. The original building was completed in 1941 and an addition added in 1958.
The Dillon County Library has participated in State Aid since its establishment and in all LSCA grants administered by the South Carolina State Library for which it qualified. One of its special projects is that of outreach to serve the elderly and the disadvantaged. In addition to regular library services, Dillon County Library provides film programs, craft activities and special activities for children.
George E. Allen, Latta, 1946-47
Etta Sue Sellers, Latta, 1947-50
Howard Griffin, Latta, 1950-52
Mrs. F.R. Ellerbe Latta, 1952-58
Mrs. J.A. McCreight Latta, 1958-64
W.C. Parham, Latta, 1964-72
C.B. Allen, Latta, 1972-76
Mrs. Joe L. Powell, Latta, 1967-77
Frank Ellerbe, Jr., Latta, 1977-79
Mrs. Robert Glenn, Hamer, 1979
Mrs. C.E. Bethea, 1944-72
Janice E. Pepper, 1972-74
Marie D. White, 1974-76
Patricia A. Gray, 1977-80
Estellene P. Walker,
"So Good and Necessary a Work": The Public Library in South Carolina, 1698-1980
(Columbia: South Carolina State Library, 1981), p. 23.
A note on the text
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