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From the Director

Melanie Huggins
Executive Director of Richland Library

Thanks for using Richland Library. Regardless of how you use library resources or services, I want to be certain you find the library to be useful, usable and enjoyable!

Take a moment to search the catalog, download e-books, music and more or find a staff pick for you or your child’s next read. You can also find information on programs and art exhibits, or read insightful updates written by our library team.

The library's bimonthly magazine, Access, includes my column, where I get to share stories, give reading recommendations and simply share my love of libraries. I hope the pieces inspire, inform and entertain you!

From the Director

Dear Readers, The routes I usually take to pick up my kids after school are forever changed. My commute through one of the loveliest neighborhoods in our city is now strewn with peoples’ belongings and houses stripped to the studs. The clean-up activity is constant; a steady stream of wheelbarrows hauling comforts and securities to the curb. Even weeks after the flooding, the shock of seeing these homes destroyed is still overwhelming. And this is just one street.

Dear Readers, One of my favorite books of all time is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The coming of age story of Francie and her poor Irish-American family is both bleak and uplifting. In the book's beginning, eleven year old Francie is an optimist and a dreamer. Their family has so little yet they do have a library in their neighborhood and for her it’s a refuge. One of the most memorable scenes for me is when Francie walks up to the librarian’s desk and asks timidly “Do you have any good books for an eleven year old girl?” Without looking up from her work, the librarian reaches under her desk and offers her two books: If I Were a King and Beverly of Graustark. Francie knows that no matter how many Saturdays she asks, these will be the same two books automatically offered by the (awful) librarian.

Dear Readers, If you have read any of my letters before this one, you know that I am immensely proud of my profession, my hometown, and my state—all of which have made tremendous progress over the years. However, the week that I am writing this letter, nine people were murdered as they worshipped at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church, and I am questioning how far we've really come.

Dear Readers, When I walk down Main Street on my way to a meeting or to get a bite to eat, I also get to walk down memory lane a little too. My mom took me to House of Fabric almost thirty years ago to pick out fabric for my prom dress. I will never forget being surrounded by all that lush and exotic material, and having to make what seemed like an impossible choice. Then weeks later, I wore that one-of-a-kind creation to my prom at the Marriott on the corner of Hampton and Main.

Dear Readers,

Andrew Carnegie, steel tycoon and philanthropist, might also be described as the godfather of the American public library. Growing up in a poor family in Scotland, he was forever changed when a wealthy benefactor opened his personal library to the “working boys” of the town so that they could acquire the knowledge needed to improve their lives. That transformative experience would lead to the grown-up Carnegie giving away millions to start nearly 1,700 public libraries across the United States.