An independent state agency on Senate Street in Columbia, the South Carolina State Library assists libraries throughout the state in meeting the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of citizens and to ensure adequate access for all. The State Library began in 1929 when the General Assembly created the State Public Library Association and the State Library Board to assist in establishing quality countywide library services across the state. No state funds were available, but grants were obtained to hire a field agent to assist communities interested in starting libraries. The federal Works Project Administration (WPA) was instrumental in establishing a measure of public library service to all counties between 1935 and 1943. The State Library Board inherited the library assets of the WPA and received its first state appropriation in 1943.
The responsibilities of the State Library Board expanded. In 1969 the General Assembly renamed it the South Carolina State Library, with the expanded responsibility to provide public library development, services to the vision impaired and physically disabled, and library services to state institutions and agencies. Since 1990, when Congress passed the Library Services and Construction Act, the State Library has been actively employing new technologies to provide information. DISCUS, South Carolina’s Virtual Library, was created in 1998 to provide a wide range of online information to users in public, academic, and school libraries.