From Village to State: The Foundation of South Carolina's Public Library System

South Carolina's rich and lengthy tradition began in 1700 with the General Assembly stipulation that "inhabitants of this province have liberty to borrow any receipt for the same" (Section IV). Later, to defray expenses while providing varieties of literary offerings from Europe, South Carolinians formed library societies in villages across the state. War and economic problems often slowed library development, but associations, agricultural societies, and women's groups kept interest alive and vital. In the early 1900's, with some help from Andrew Carnegie, tax-supported public libraries slowly began to evolve from many of the earlier groups, and, gradually, more communities began to offer wider library service.

This exhibit has been prepared by Robert V. Williams, Director, and Roberta V.H. Copp, Project Assistant, for the "South Carolina Library Heritage" Project. Funds and support for the Project provided by:

The South Carolina Committee for the Humanities

The South Carolina Library Association

The South Carolina State Library

The University of South Carolina's College of Library and Information Science

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