Browsing articles in "News"
Nov 19, 2014
Curtis Rogers

The Big Read is now accepting applications

The Big Read is accepting applications from non-profit organizations to develop community-wide reading programs between September 2015 and June 2016.  The Big Read is a national program designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage reading for pleasure and enrichment.

Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read receive a grant, access to educational and promotional materials, and online training resources and opportunities.  Approximately 75 organizations from across the country will be selected.

Application deadline: January 28, 2015.

To review the Guidelines and Application Instructions and discover all 37 titles available for selection this year, visit

Questions? Call Arts Midwest at 612-238-8010 or email

Nov 18, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Local Author Fair to be held in Sumter

sumter library logoThe Sumter County Public Library is hosting the 2015 Local Author Fair on Saturday, January 21, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is seeking local authors to participate. Applications may be picked up at any Sumter County Library location, and must be completed and turned in by December 17, 2014. This is a chance for local writers to display, sign and sell their works. For more information, please contact Ford Simmons at 803-773-7273 or

Sep 26, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Young Readers Invited to Write to Favorite Authors

Young readers in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to an author for the Letters about Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing promotion program. The letter can be to any author (living or dead) from any genre (fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic) explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s view of the world. This reading and writing promotion is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with the South Carolina Center for the Book and the South Carolina State Library with financial support from the South Carolina State Library Foundation.

Prizes will be awarded on both the state and national levels. The South Carolina Center for the Book’s panel of judges will select the top letter writers in the state, to be honored in an awards ceremony on April 29, 2015. Their winning letters will be published online at the South Carolina Center for the Book’s website. South Carolina winners will also receive monetary prizes, and then advance to the national judging.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one national winner per competition level (Level I for grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8, and Level III for grades 9-12) to receive a $1,000 cash award, to be announced May 2015. The judges will also select one national honor winner on each competition level to receive a $200 cash award. South Carolina winners will receive $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place in each level.

Teachers, librarians, and parents can download free teaching materials on reader response and reflective writing, along with contest details and entry forms, at Last year’s South Carolina winners may be found at the website:

Submissions from Grades 9-12 must be postmarked by December 15, 2014. Submissions from Grades 4-8 must be postmarked by January 15, 2015.

For more information, please contact Dr. Curtis R. Rogers at 803-734-8928 or

Sep 22, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Slave Dwelling Project comes to Kershaw County

Jack Brantley slave cabin The Kershaw County Library will host a talk with historian Joseph McGill, Jr., founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, on Saturday, October 4 at 3:30 p.m. By sleeping in former slave dwellings, this project has brought much needed attention to these often neglected structures that are vitally important to the American built environment. Inspired by his participation as a Civil War Re-enactor of the 54th Massachusetts, the African American unit portrayed in the movie Glory, Mr. McGill went on to aid the Magnolia Plantation near Charleston in their efforts to publicize the neglected state of their slave cabins by spending the night in one, his first, in 2009. This year, Mr. McGill’s efforts were recognized with a grant from the South Carolina Department or Archives and History, which awarded him a $25,000 grant to record the location and condition of remaining slave cabins in South Carolina.

“Americans tend to focus on the ‘big house,’ the mansion and gardens, and neglect the buildings out back,” Mr. McGill stated in a 2013 article in Smithsonian Magazine. “If we lose slave dwellings, it’s that much easier to forget the slaves themselves.” During his visit to Camden, Mr. McGill will spend the night in one local slave cabin, located behind The Mathis House on 1409 Broad Street, as a guest of owner Jack Brantley. This cabin, fortunately, is well preserved, unlike many of the structures where Mr. McGill has spent the night— sometimes restlessly.


Currently, Mr. McGill is a history consultant for Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC Prior to his current position, Mr. McGill was a field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Executive Director of the African American Museum located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Director of History and Culture at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Mr. McGill was also employed by the National Park Service, serving as a Park Ranger at Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston, South Carolina. As a Park Ranger, Mr. McGill was responsible for giving oral presentations on Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie on and off site. Mr. McGill is the founder of Company “I” 54th Massachusetts Reenactment Regiment in Charleston, South Carolina.

A native of Kingstree, South Carolina, Mr. McGill is a United States Air Force Veteran and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional English from South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

This talk, which is free to the public, is made possible through a grant from The Humanities CouncilSC. For more information, please visit the library website at or call 803-425-1508. The Camden Library is located at 1304 Broad Street.

Sep 22, 2014
Curtis Rogers

SC Blues Talk at Kershaw County Library

DougPeach2p (1)Kershaw County Library will be hosting a talk by Doug Peach, South Carolina Folklife and Traditional Arts Program Coordinator at the McKissick Museum (University of South Carolina) and the South Carolina Arts Commission, on the history of the Blues in South Carolina. The talk, which will focus on the musicians, culture, and style of music known as the “Piedmont Blues,” will be held at the Camden Library on October 1st from 6:30-7:30 pm. “We hope to contribute to the Fine Arts Center’s Carolina Downhome Blues Festival, which will kick off the day after the talk, with a discussion about the history and culture of Blues in this region. Having an understanding of South Carolina’s contribution to this genre might add a bit to the music, and also stands alone as a point of pride,” states Library Director Amy Schofield.

Doug Peach is also the producer – along with Henry Glassie  and Clifford Murphy – of the forthcoming book/CD, Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line (Dust-to-Digital Records). He holds an MA in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University where his research focused on music on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. His father is a 1970 graduate of Camden High School.

This talk is free to the public. For more information, please visit the library website at or call 803-425-1508. The Camden Library is located at 1304 Broad Street.

Sep 19, 2014
Curtis Rogers

SC Academy of Authors Announces Annual Fellowships in Fiction and Poetry

sc academy of authors logoThe SC Academy of Authors (SCAA) announces its annual fellowship competitions in poetry and fiction. Winning authors in each category will receive $1,000 and be invited to the SCAA induction ceremony in Charleston in April 2015. The winning entries will be published in “Fall Lines,” an annual literary journal published by Muddy Ford Press in Columbia.

The entry deadline is December 1, 2014. Applicants must be full-time South Carolina residents. Previous winners are eligible after three years. Entries must be neither published nor accepted for publication at the time of submission, though simultaneous submissions are allowed.

Submissions in either category must be typed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper; the author’s name must not appear on the manuscript. Authors should mail two hard copies of their entries with a separate cover sheet specifying their name, contact information and submission title(s), plus a $15 application fee payable to SCAA to the addresses below. Entry fees help support the SCAA in its mission to preserve and promote South Carolina’s literary legacy.

Entries for the fiction fellowship must be original short stories or excerpts from longer works not exceeding 15 pages. There are no restrictions on content. Applicants may submit only one story or excerpt. Submissions and application fees should be sent to Jon Tuttle, Department of English, Francis Marion University, PO
Box 100547, Florence, SC 29502. For more information about the fiction fellowship, contact Jon Tuttle at

The fiction fellowship is now in its fourth year. Previous winners are Nancy Brock of Columbia (2014), Thomas McConnell of Spartanburg (2013), and Craig Brandhurst of Columbia (2012). This year’s fiction fellowship judge is Ann Hood, author of 11 novels, most recently “The Italian Wife” (2014) and “The Obituary Writer” (2013). Her best-selling memoir, “Comfort” (2008), was named one of the top 10 non-fiction books by Entertainment Weekly and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. She is the recipient of the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes and a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, and is a faculty member in the MFA program at The New School in New York City.

Entries for the Carrie Nickens Poetry Fellowship, now in its sixth year, must be original manuscripts of 6-10 pages with no more than one poem per page. There are no restrictions on form or content. Submissions and application fees should be sent to Libby Bernardin, 407 Meeting St., Georgetown, SC 29440. For more information about the Nickens Poetry Fellowship, contact Bernardin at

Recent winners of the Nickens Poetry Fellowship include Jo Angela Edwins of Florence (2014), Susan Laughter Meyers of Givhans (2013), and Kit Loney of Charleston (2012). This year’s poetry fellowship judge is Traci Brimhall, author of “Our Lady of the Ruins,” winner of the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and “Rookery,” winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Slate, The Believer, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Kansas State University.

The South Carolina Academy of Authors was founded at Anderson College in 1986. Its purpose, besides sponsoring fellowships in fiction and poetry, is to identify and recognize the state’s distinguished writers and their influence on our cultural heritage. The Academy board selects new inductees annually whose works have been judged culturally important. Each inductee, whether living or deceased, has added to South Carolina’s literary legacy by earning notable scholarly attention or achieving historical prominence. For more information about the South Carolina Academy of Authors, please visit

Sep 18, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Books to Benefit Historic Ruff Chapel

Books to Benefit Historic Ruff Chapel, Ridgeway, SC will be held on Saturday, October 11, from 9 am – 11 am at the Chapel.  Admission is free.

Well known storyteller, Mrs. Frances Lee  O’Neal, President Elect of the South Carolina Storytelling Network joined by other Network members will be presenting stories from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to both adults and children.

Meet Mr. Eddie Killian, President of The Fairfield County Genealogy Chapter of South Carolina Genealogy Society who will be available to provide information on starting or researching family genealogy.  Also on display will be a covered wagon and the Fairfield County Historical Society venue will provide information pertaining to the history of the county.

Friends of Ruff Chapel invites everyone to come browse the many, many books which will be on sale while viewing the Chapel and learning its history.    All proceeds will benefit the preservation of Ruff Chapel by The Ruff Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery Association.

Ruff Chapel is located next to the post office in Ridgeway.

Sep 18, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Book Launch for The Spirit of an Activist: The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman

Join us for the official book launch and reception of The Spirit of an Activist: The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman, published by the University of South Carolina Press and edited by Sadye L. M. Logan with foreword by Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. and prologue by James E. Clyburn. The event will be held Thursday, September 25 at the South Carolina State Library in Columbia, 1500 Senate Street from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Parking is available in the lot behind the library off Bull Street. Signed copies may be pre-ordered via or call 803-777-3912.  Copies of the book will also be for sale at the signing. For more information, please visit additional book talks and signings at the South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book, please visit

Sep 9, 2014
Curtis Rogers

2014 Annual Literacy Leaders Award Winners

The Annual Literacy Leaders Awards will be presented by the USC School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) tonight to individuals and/or groups that have had a statewide impact on literacy in South Carolina. Their contributions include:

  • Developing and implementing innovative and creative approaches to literacy education
  • Establishing models of best practices in literacy education
  • Providing service to underserved groups and communities
  • Providing funding and support for these kinds of programs
  • Making other statewide contributions deemed appropriate by the Committee



Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students toward Effective Role Models) is an organization that has developed and implemented innovative approaches to literacy education, established best practices in literacy education, provided services to underserved groups and communities, and provided funding and support of these kids of programs.

The Call Me MISTER program at Clemson University began in 2000 with the goal of placing more male African American elementary teachers from diverse cultures and backgrounds in the classroom.  The program has graduated 150 MISTERs who are teaching in SC schools.

This program focuses on love of reading and learning with an emphasis on math and literacy skills and reading recovery.  The core classroom philosophy is that every child has qualities to be developed.  In addition to the classroom, MISTERs work with after school programs, volunteer in the community, and work with academic coaches each week.

The program has expanded to include 17 other universities and technical colleges in SC and programs in 7 additional states.

Dr. Dianne Johnson

Dr. Johnson, a member of the USC English Language and Literature Department, has spent the last 20 plus years teaching, reading to children, and writing books to encourage reading and literacy—not just for children, but for everyone.  Her love for words and telling stories through books has inspired hundreds of children in elementary schools throughout the state.

Dr. Johnson’s pen name is Dinah Johnson.  Her book that celebrates the color black and its magic and fun—Black Magic—teaches us all about the positive aspects of the color black. Her book that celebrates the beauty of African American hair—Hair Dance—inspires children to love their hair.  All Around Town: The Photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts is a picture book of the African American community of Columbia in the 1920s and 1930s while Quinnie Blue and Sunday Week celebrates family relationships.  Sitting Pretty:  A Celebration of Black Dolls is a collection of poetry for each doll in Dr. Johnson’s personal collection.  Each doll is named for people in her life and the poems highlight their personalities.  The Best of the Brownies’  Book is Dr. Johnson’s anthology that includes pictures of what life was like for young African Americans in the early 20th century.  Her writing teaches history and explores current issues that encourage young people and their families to read and learn.

Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry

For some forty years, Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry (LVL) has been at the forefront of the effort to provide the citizens of greater Beaufort County with reading, writing, and speaking skills essential for success in the family, the workplace, and the community. The organization has dedicated itself to creating awareness of the enormity of the literacy challenge in the area; to providing leadership in its service area and with other organizations offering literacy programs elsewhere; and to offering substantial instruction and other programs to the community.

Beaufort County, one of the wealthiest and best educated county populations in the state, has 11% of its population who lack basic prose literacy skills (National Center for Education Statistics, 2009); neighboring Jasper County has 27% of its population similarly challenged. Nearly 20% of Beaufort County’s school population is Latino.

From its beginnings in 1973, LVL has aggressively confronted the need for improving the literacy skills of the community.  There are now programs that are designed to serve a number of particular segments of the community including basic education programs for adults, preparation for US citizenship, education for English for speakers of other languages and workplace literacy programs.

The Inaugural Peggy Parish Prize

The Peggy Parish Prize honors individuals who have made a personal impact that increases child literacy in South Carolina. Two Prizes of $500 each will be awarded tonight.

Successful recipients will demonstrate their impact through activities such as:

  • Implementing or expanding innovative programs or approaches to increase literacy in children
  • Encouraging a child’s love of reading through the involvement of a parent or caregiver
  • Establishing or expanding programs for under-served community groups to increase child literacy
  • Creating programs that successfully use Peggy Parish’s notion of an “open window” timeframe to encourage reading in children

This prize is being offered in Peggy Parish’s memory, to honor those who demonstrate the imagination, creativity and energy to help the children of South Carolina become life-long readers.

Peggy Parish Prize Winners

Ida Thompson

Throughout her professional career as a school library media specialist, consultant, and district director, Ida Thompson has displayed a compassion for the role of libraries and books in the lives of students.  For over twenty-five years, she has coordinated the Richland School District One Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Program, one of the largest multi-site programs in the country serving over 12,000 students and distributing over 40,000 new books annually.  The RIF Program has received many national honors under her leadership and continues to enhance the district’s literacy focus.

Engaging students requires effort, creativity and persistence.  Ida has combined these qualities into a special event called Reading Rocks, which has become the district’s annual literacy celebration.  Under her leadership, the program has won numerous honors including a special commendation by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).  Reading Rocks provides free books to students, features nationally renowned authors and illustrators, local authors, vendors, and an array of interactive games, displays and community groups.

She is a staunch advocate for her district’s school library media programs, securing additional funding to upgrade and maintain quality print and electronic book collections, ensuring that students have access to high quality reading materials at all levels.

She gives countless volunteer hours supporting a wide range of literacy events, including helping to coordinate the Statewide READ-IN, serving on the planning committee for the Annual S. C. Book Festival and Augusta Baker Celebration of Stories.  She serves on the Richland Library Board of Trustees (where she serves as Treasurer) and is a two-time president of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.  She is a member of the American Library Association and AASL, and often assists with logistics for the Coretta Scott King Book Award Breakfast.  She was recently elected Vice-President of the Columbia Writers Alliance and seizes every opportunity to promote reading and literacy events in her district and the community.

Ida believes that literacy is the great equalizer, opening doors for students to explore and grow. She embodies and displays the tenacity to keep a focus on reading, understanding that readers become leaders who can change the world.

Leslie Tetreault

Leslie Tetreault has been Manager of the Children’s Room at Richland Library since 1986 and is known for her passion and fierceness when it comes to pursuing her mission to improve the lives of children through her work as a librarian. She strives to achieve this by giving children the best books; the best service and letting them know they are valued.

Under Leslie’s leadership many innovative programs have been implemented. One of the most outstanding examples is All Around Town: All Around the State, a literacy initiative that gives at-risk third grade students a book and builds on that book to give them experiences that broadens their world in so many ways. This initiative began with the City of Columbia’s program Together We Can Read that Leslie saw as an opportunity to really engage children in literacy. Through passion and persistence, she convinced the city and Richland School District One to expand this program. 2,000 children took buses to the Columbia Museum of Art where they met the author of All Around Town: The Photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts, Dinah Johnson, heard her present, toured the galleries and made art inspired by the photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts. The event was a huge success and it impacted the children greatly, giving them an autographed copy of a book, a chance to meet the author and an experience they will never forget. It also stoked Leslie’s fire. To date, this program has continued to grow with more than 1,500 children from counties like Richland, Orangeburg, Newberry, Fairfield, Calhoun and Kershaw participating. These children have shared the impact of this program: “This experience makes me want to explore the world and the library” and most telling, “This is my first real book.”

This program is innovative, encouraging and definitely connects with underserved communities.

Aug 21, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Did you know??? Talking Book Services are available in South Carolina

Do you know someone who has a visual impairment or physical disability that prevents them from enjoying reading?  Check out our Talking Book Services program and like us on Facebook  Learn more about how to apply at