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Richland Library Main celebrates 30 years on Assembly Street

Richland Library opened its Main location on Valentine’s Day in 1993.

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David Warren, Captain Telegram, and Wild Thing celebrate the Main Library grand opening. | Photo via Richland Library Digital Archives

February 14, aka Valentine’s Day, is an extra special day for Richland County Library. On this day in 1989, Richland County voters overwhelmingly passed a bond referendum to build a new location.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held two years later to the day, and in 1993, the ribbon was cut, opening the new 242,000-sqft Main location.

📚 Quick History of the Library

  • Colonial South Carolina passed its first Library Law in 1700 and later formed the Charleston Library Society (in the former capital city of Charleston) —one of the first in North America.
  • In 1786, the capital moved to the more centrally located village of Columbia, and the Columbia Library Society formed and flourished.
  • On Feb. 17, 1865, General Sherman and his troops destroyed the Columbia Athenium library, which was located at the corner of Richardson (now Main Street) and Washington Streets.
  • In 1896, the Lend-A-Hand Library was established on the first floor of City Hall.
  • Three years later, that library burned down, but was rebuilt and renamed the Columbia Public Library (1924) and moved to a new spot on Main Street.
  • In 1930, the library offered its first “traveling library” — a bookmobile that made its way around Richland County.
  • From 1961 to 1985, the library spread across the county, opening branches in Forest Acres, St. Andrews, Eastover, and the Northeast Branch.
  • On Feb. 14, 1993, the ribbon was cut, and welcomed guests at the state-of-the-art library located at the corner of Assembly and Hampton streets. Like a fine wine, this current location only gets better with time.

Today, the Richland Library system has 13 modern locations and offers a variety of resources and events that serve the community.

Share your favorite memories from Richland Library Main on social media and tag them using #LoveYourLibrary and #AccessFreely.

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