There were 2,767,526 visits to Richland Library this year.
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Libraries aren't amenities; we're necessities. And we will continue to move our communities forward, making sure our residents are prepared for the future. We will be places where the community can come together and discuss issues that are important to them. We are ensuring people have spaces to learn, create and share. And we need to break down barriers, provide access to information and connect local residents directly to the experts.
Melanie Huggins
Executive Director, Richland Library

Richland Library

Our libraries have become community hubs that match the individualized needs of each community we serve in Richland County. Walking through the doors of any of our 11 library locations opens up a whole new world of opportunities for people of all ages to learn, create and share.

Named one of the top 15 libraries in the country by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library was a finalist for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service—the nation's highest honor given to that sector.

Building Your Library

Richland Library has spent the last year talking with customers, community partners, collaborators and others about shaping our facilities to meet their needs both today and in years to come. From Community Conversations to Focus Groups and One-on-One Interviews, our design teams have worked hard to take community input and realize it through floor plans, refreshed service areas, innovative technology and more.

Thanks to a bond referendum passed by Richland County residents in November 2013, and significant community input, construction began on six of our library locations, including:

The library and Richland School District Two teamed up to unveil plans for a joint-use facility that will house the new 30,000 square foot Richland Library Sandhills and the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). An important crossroads where local residents can take advantage of technology, classrooms, programming and meeting spaces, the facility is located along Fashion Drive in the Village at Sandhill.

For the latest updates on Richland Library renovations and reconfigurations, visit BuildingYourLibrary.com.

Print Resources

Spending nearly four million dollars a year on all of the materials included in our collection, print books still top the list, making up the largest portion of that expense. Our customers can choose from nearly 800,000 books, 600 newspapers and magazines, and more than 150,000 CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

Part of our children, teen and adult collections, these print and non-print items were checked out more than four million times last year:

Assistive Technology

To help readers of all ages fully enjoy our print collection, the library purchased an Enhanced Vision text-to-speech Smart Reader and a Ruby HD handheld magnifier, thanks to a Library Services and Technology Act Grant from the South Carolina State Library.

Digital Resources

With a Richland Library card and an eReady device, customers can access our robust downloadable collection from anywhere, at any time, thanks to services like Overdrive, Freegal and Hoopla.

This fiscal year, customers downloaded nearly 1.4 million items – a nine percent increase. They included:

Read Local

For local writers, circulating their work directly to the library's voracious readers became a whole lot easier, thanks to a partnership with the South Carolina State Library. Richland Library offered a new way to connect indie authors with literary audiences through a free service, called SELF-e.

Career & Job Resources

Business, Careers and Research Center Unveiled

In March 2016, Richland Library unveiled its newly renovated and reconfigured Business, Careers and Research Center at Main. Quickly becoming the perfect spot to connect with clients, finish a thesis or explore new career opportunities, dedicated spaces include:

Committed to providing career and entrepreneurial resources throughout our community, the library assisted customers with the following:

"The Richland Library's Business, Careers and Research Center has truly given me a gift: the tools and support to begin the search for a new and exciting career. Initially, I thought I would just have someone assist me in reworking my resume, take advantage of some interview skills practice sessions and go on my merry way. I never dreamed that in the process, my Richland Library career service allies would challenge and inspire me – not only to rework my resume but also to rework my life."
– Jean Guess


During October 2015, South Carolina felt the impact of an historic flooding event that left behind a path of devastation and destruction. Richland Library staff worked together to open our locations just days after the intense rainfall hit – providing access to resources, power to charge cells phone and computers to apply for federal assistance or contact loved ones.

In the weeks that followed, other efforts included:

Throughout October 2015, more than 2,000 local residents came to Richland Library to connect with FEMA at our Southeast location, averaging about 90 customers a day.

Early Literacy

Targeting young children before they become school age, library staff provided 353 early literacy programs with 13,937 participants. Here Comes Kindergarten is one of those highlighted programs that heads to locations, such as Latimer Manor and Allen Benedict Court, in an effort to provide fun, educational techniques and tools to both kids and adults preparing for kindergarten.

Community Engagement

In November 2015, our new 39-foot, state-of-the-art Learn Freely bus hit the road—taking part in 94 community engagement programs – a 32 percent increase – and connected with more than 11,000 attendees at events, like First Thursdays on Main and FoodShare Columbia.

Essential Services

Committed to the continued growth of our community, the library provided almost 800 programs, ranging from technology and workforce development to arts and life skills—impacting nearly 43,000 people.

One of the most highly sought-after resources was the library’s social workers. Local residents struggling with basic needs met with a social worker one-on-one for reliable access to community resources, like SNAP, veterans’ benefits and the Affordable Care Act.

Library navigators worked with local partners like Palmetto Project and Enroll America to help Midlands’ residents learn the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act. In November 2015, the library participated in a phone bank broadcast on WLTX where navigators responded to 75 calls in two hours and received almost 150 voicemail messages.

Lifelong Learning

Over the last year, Richland Library staff reached more than 2,000 people in our community who were homebound through services, such as Books to You. Visiting places, like Lowman Home, we were able to engage and develop relationships with members of our community who were unable to visit us in person – supplying them with books and other requested information.

Life skills

In an attempt to help people cope with issues or challenges that they face in their everyday lives, Richland Library scheduled 87 life skills programs – a 38 percent increase – that served more than 2,500 people.

Thanks to a $30,000 Library Services Technology Act grant through the South Carolina State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library formed a six-week course, titled Self Sufficiency 101 at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Impacting the lives of more than 50 male detainees, the course covered a wide range of topics, including:


Richland Library staff helped more than 160,000 children use their library cards last year. More than 58,000 children attended family-friendly programs at Richland Library.

ConnectED Library Challenge

In September 2015, Richland Library announced a partnership with Richland School District Two as part of the White House's ConnectED Library Challenge initiative. More than 26,000 students received a library card. As a result, Richland County became one of only 30 communities across the country to participate in the White House's ConnectED Library Challenge initiative, which aims to eliminate barriers and provide children with access to books and other learning materials.


Richland Library appealed directly to teens and tweens (12 to 18-years-old) by offering dedicated spaces with access to resources, such as a recording studio, video gaming, 3D printers and the latest high-tech gadgets.

During the last fiscal year:

Through a First Citizens grant, Richland Library offerred a free, four-week SAT prep class in October, which typically would cost students $400.

Our People

Nearly 400 people make up Richland Library's award-winning, diverse staff. From librarians to career coaches, social workers, and security officers, our employees have become workplace ambassadors and pillars within our community.

Last year, staff members volunteered hundreds of hours to promote early literacy and workforce development at community partners, like the Midlands Reading Consortium and Transitions Homeless Shelter.


Last year, 667 volunteers donated more than 18,483 hours of their time – a value of almost $390,725. Without their dedication, generosity and help, the library wouldn’t have been able to provide all the services and programs that our community values.
In May 2016, Richland Library recognized the following volunteers:

Interested in volunteering? Call (803) 929-3436 or visit our website

Board of Trustees

Board members are appointed by Richland County Council and volunteer their time to advance their community.

2015-2016 Board of Trustees

Nathaniel A. Barber, Chair,
Richland Library
Board of Trustees,
What has transpired over the last couple of years with Richland Library is just fascinating. As I’ve told many members of our community, you’re going to be very pleased with what the end result is.  Our customers are  going to love the new library that they envisioned and we supported.
Ed Garrison, Vice Chair Ida W. Thompson, Treasurer Johnny Ray Noble, Vice Treasurer Yvonne Stocker, Secretary Cheryl English Betty L. Gregory Katherine Swartz Hilton Alethia P. Rearden James "Jamie" Shadd, III

Elected to Serve 2016 – 2017

Nathaniel A. Barber, Chair Ed Garrison, Vice Chair Johnny Ray Noble, Treasurer Yvonne Stocker, Secretary Cheryl EnglishBetty L. GregoryKatherine Swartz HiltonAlethia P. ReardenJames "Jamie" Shadd, IIIIda W. Thompson
Joyce Dickerson
Norman Jackson
Kelvin Washington
2015 Richland County Council Liaisons

Richland Library Friends

Richland Library Friends is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising support for library programs and spearheading advocacy efforts on behalf of Richland Library. Established in 1975 by the Junior League of Columbia, Inc., Friends’ members raise money throughout the year through book sales and special events. Want to become a Friend? Visit here or call (803) 988-0885.

This fiscal year, the Richland Library Friends:

2015 - 2016 Friends Board Members

Susan Mazur, President
It is encouraging to count the number of customers who walk through the doors during our Friends’ quarterly book sales and know that money will go directly back to the community through quality programming at Richland Library throughout the year. An example would be the Friends’ Summer Learning Challenge where children, teens and adults have the opportunity to choose from more than 1,000 programs and then get rewarded for reading, learning, creating and sharing.
John Bradley, Vice President Will Stork, Treasurer Sara Weinberg, Secretary Tina Auman Jennifer Bishop Robin Blume Caroline Bokesch Gloria Boyd Brenda Branic Emily Brannen Erin Crawford Susan Hackett Tracy Haisley Amy Hill Chris Koon Linda Kuntz Teresea Mathis Chakisse Newton Jess Torres Ashlye Wilkerson
Nathaniel A. Barber, Richland Library Board of Trustees Representative

Elected to Serve 2016 - 2017

Will Stork, President John Bradley, Vice President Brenda Branic, Treasurer Sara Weinberg, Secretary
Nathaniel Barber, Richland Library Board of Trustees Representative

Richland Library Foundation

The Richland Library Foundation works to increase financial support for Richland Library to broaden and diversify its ability to serve the citizens of Richland County. Because public funding is not enough, Richland Library also relies on private support from generous donors. If you would like to contribute to the future of our library system, click here.

Ethel Bolden Scholarship

In 2010, the Richland Library Foundation established the Ethel Bolden Minority Scholarship in honor and recognition of Mrs. Ethel Bolden's years of service to the Richland County community and its libraries. The $2,500 scholarship seeks to encourage and to provide financial support for students from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, who are working toward the completion of a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of South Carolina. The 2015 recipient – Seneca Jackson – was honored during a presentation and reception in November 2015.

2015 – 2016 Foundation Board Members

Adam Davis, Chair
For 40 years, Ethel Bolden worked tirelessly to bolster reading in our community, and she was a pioneer for library services among area children. This scholarship honors and recognizes her dedication to promoting the importance of libraries and the vital role that they continue to play in Richland County.
Sarena Burch, Vice Chair Sara Fisher, Secretary/Treasurer William "Buddy" Bateman Jody Bedenbaugh David Campbell Tony Cooper Susie Dibble Beth Elliott Alexander Fournil David Hodges Jonathan "J.P." Lee R. Neal Reynolds, M.D.
Susan Mazur, Richland Library Friends Representative

Elected to Serve 2016 - 2017

Sarena Burch, Chair Sara Fisher, Vice Chair Jonathan "J.P." Lee, Secretary/Treasurer

Our Numbers


County Appropriation
State Aid
Bond Revenue




Capital Projects


Addition to reserves: $879,510

Items checked out

North Main
St. Andrews



eResources Checked Out

Streaming Music



Library Use

Total registered borrowers
New registered borrowers
Number of in-library programs
Number of attendees at in-library programs
Number of outreach programs
Number of attendees at outreach programs


Locations and Hours

Richland Library Main

1431 Assembly St.
Columbia 29201
(803) 799-9084

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri – Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Ballentine

1321 Dutch Fork Rd.
Irmo 29063
(803) 781-5026

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Blythewood

218 McNulty Rd.
Blythewood 29016
(803) 691-9806

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Cooper

5317 North Trenholm Rd.
Columbia 29206
(803) 787-3462

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Eastover

608 Main St.
Eastover 29044
(803) 353-8584

Mon - Thurs 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library North Main

5306 North Main St.
Columbia 29203
(803) 754-7734

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Northeast

7490 Parklane Rd.
Columbia 29223
(803) 736-6575

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Sandhills

1 Summit Parkway at Clemson Rd.
Columbia 29229
(803) 699-9230

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Southeast

7421 Garners Ferry Rd.
Columbia 29209
(803) 776-0855

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library St. Andrews

2916 Broad River Rd.
Columbia 29210
(803) 772-6675

Mon – Thurs, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Richland Library Wheatley

931 Woodrow St.
Columbia 29205
(803) 799-5873

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tues, Thurs 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Richland Library at EdVenture

211 Gervais St.
Columbia 29201
(803) 779-3100

Tues – Sat, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun, noon – 5 p.m.

All hours are subject to change.

Who's Who at the Library Download Strategic Plan


Need to renew materials? It's easy!

Call (803) 929-3425 or (803) 929-3427.
Visit any Richland Library location.

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