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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 28, 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.RSVP by September 15 and pre-order signed copies 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

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

Aug 20, 2014
Curtis Rogers

2015 Latino Children’s & Young Adults’ Literature and Literacies National Conference

Be a Part of this Exciting Event!
The College of Education is pleased to announce the 2015 Latino Children’s & Young Adults’ Literature and Literacies Conference to be held at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC January 11-14, 2015. This conference focuses on current research of the education of Latino children/young adults and their families, and will offer perspectives and ideas on how to serve this rapidly growing population in the U.S.

In keeping with the idea of celebrating Latino children’s and young adult literature, literacies and culture, we invite proposals that contribute to and extend existing knowledge in the following areas: Latino children’s literature, Latino young adult literature, Latino family involvement, Latino literacy, literature programs with Latino children’s literature, educational needs of Latino children, and other related topics.

Who Should Attend the Conference?
Those interested in Latino children’s and young adult literature and literacies will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the richness and variety within the Latino culture. Learn about current research on the educational needs of Latino children and their families and on uses of Latino children’s and young adult literature in a variety of settings­, homes, communities and schools. Gain expert insights, network and share ideas about how you can best serve this diverse population. Join us as we strive to deepen our understanding of Latino cultures and learn ways to integrate the cultures into our classrooms and communities through Latino literature!

For more information, please visit

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Aug 20, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Register today for the South Carolina Storytelling Conference

The South Carolina Storytelling Conference hosted by the South Carolina Center for Oral Narration at USC Sumter is an all day event providing workshops and storytelling opportunities for new and experienced storytellers. Special sessions have been designed for educators and CEU credit is available. This year’s featured teller is John Fowler.


8:00-9:00 Registration
9:00-10:30 Workshop Session 1
10:45-12:15 Workshop Session 2
12:35-1:30 Storytime Lunch
1:30-3:00–Workshop Session 3: Master Storytelling Workshop with Featured Teller John Fowler
3:15-4:45 Workshop Session 4
5:00-6:00 Featured Teller Performance


Aug 20, 2014
Curtis Rogers

South Carolina Library Association Annual Conference to be held in Columbia

*REGISTRATION / Early bird rate available through September 19, 2014.  Now available online and via downloadable formCheck the downloadable form for a general conference agenda.

*POSTER SESSIONS / The general and student poster session deadlines are both September 16, 2014.  Access the applications from the conference webpage.

*SPONSORSHIP & EXHIBITORS / Opportunities are still available.  Download the Sponsor and Exhibitor Packet now.  The deadline to be included in the conference program is September 19, 2014.


First General Session ‐ Wednesday, October 22

Our opening keynote session will feature award‐winning poet Ed Madden, Jr. Madden’s poems have appeared in Borderlands, Los Angeles Review, Poetry Ireland, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals, as well as in Best New Poets 2007 and the anthology The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present from the University of Notre Dame Press. His other publications include, Prodigal: Variations, and Nest.  Born and raised in rural Arkansas, Ed Madden is an associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches Irish literature and creative writing. His scholarly works include Tiresian Poetics, a study of modernist poetry, and he is the editor of Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a collection of radio essays from the first three years of South Carolina’s only gay and lesbian radio show.

Second General Session ‐ Thursday, October 23

Our second general session will feature George Needham from the Online Computer Information Center (OCLC). George was appointed Vice President of Member Services at OCLC in 1999 and was named to his current position in 2009. During his tenure at OCLC, he has been deeply involved with transforming the cooperative into a global membership organization with a new governance structure.  Before joining OCLC, he was State Librarian of Michigan, where he launched several innovative, statewide library projects, including AccessMichigan, a pioneering LSTA‐funded project that provides full‐text databases, indexes, abstracts and other online reference services to all types of libraries in Michigan. From 1984 to 1989, he served as library director of Fairfield County District Library in Lancaster, OH, during which he opened a new library built entirely with community donations and designed by library staff. From 1990 to 1993, he was Director of Member Services of the Ohio Library Association. He was also Executive Director of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association, from 1993 to 1996.  George received a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in library science from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He credits his experience as a reference librarian as helping him become a two‐time champion on the television show Jeopardy in 1994.

Third General Session ‐ Friday, October 24

Our third general session will feature award winning comic book illustrator and author, Sanford Greene. Sanford has worked in comics and related industries for over 10 years. His clients include Disney, DC Comics, SEGA, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Warner Brothers, Fox, and Marvel Comics. His current works include a French graphic album for Humanoid Publishing and a Spiderman children book for Disney/Marvel Publishing.  Sanford is also working on two creator owned projects: one called “Rotten Apple” published by Dark Horse Comics; the other project is titled “1000” with MTV.

We look forward to seeing you in Columbia in October!

Crystal L. Johnson, First Vice President/Conference Chair, SCLA

Jun 9, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Lexington educator wins S.C. First Novel Prize

The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press of Spartanburg announce James Edwin McTeer II of Lexington as the winner of the 2014 South Carolina First Novel Competition. McTeer’s novel Grave Dust from the Islands Far will be published by Hub City Press and debut at the South Carolina Book Festival in May 2015.

McTeer will receive a $1,000 book advance from Hub City Press.

Grave Dust from the Islands Far is a gorgeous fever-dream of a novel,” said competition judge Ben Fountain. “McTeer’s story of a young boy’s quest achieves a narrative drive and depth that are rare in any novel, much less a debut effort. Grave Dust picked me up by the scruff of the neck and carried me along as powerfully as a novel by Pat Conroy or Toni Morrison. Yeah, McTeer is that good. I look forward to many more novels by this excellent young writer.”

Born and raised in Beaufort, McTeer is the grandson of the late J. E. McTeer, whose 37 years as High Sheriff of the Lowcountry (and local witch doctor) served as inspiration for the winning novel. McTeer, 30, has worked for five years as a school media specialist and is currently the librarian at Polo Road Elementary School in Columbia. He lives in Lexington with his wife, but travels to Beaufort monthly “to soak in the marsh, the mud, and the salty air.”

“As a native of South Carolina and a child of the Lowcountry, being selected as the winner of the South Carolina First Novel Competition is the highest honor I could receive as a writer,” McTeer said. “My dream has always been to put a story on the page that would excite and entertain, and winning with a South Carolina tale makes the moment even more special.”

Set in a fictional Beaufort County in the late 19th century, McTeer’s novel “is a LowcountryHeart of Darkness, evoking the work of Karen Russell,” said Betsy Teter, editor of Hub City Press. “We are thrilled to publish the enigmatic story of Minnow, who ventures deep into the voodoo world of the South Carolina Sea Islands in search of a cure for his father’s mysterious illness.”

“The First Novel Prize is South Carolina’s premiere competition to discover new novelists in our state and launch their literary careers,” said Sara June Goldstein, literary arts director at the South Carolina Arts Commission. “It is the only first novel competition sponsored by a state arts commission, and it presents a unique way to appreciate the depth and breadth of the work of our remarkable writers, and then get the best of that fine writing into the hands of readers.”

The competition judge, Ben Fountain, won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for his debut novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. A native of North Carolina now living in Dallas, Fountain also is a recipient of a Pen/Hemingway award for a story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevera.

Other finalists in this year’s competition were Matthew Boedy of Columbia, Mary Fancher of Greer, Scott Gould of Greenville, and David A. Wright of Travelers Rest.

Read more about The First Novel competition.

Jun 5, 2014
Curtis Rogers

SC State Library Board Appoints Benggio Acting Director

The South Carolina State Library’s Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed Leesa Benggio as Acting Director of the South Carolina State Library.

Benggio has been employed by the South Carolina State Library for seven years, serving as Deputy Director and Interim Agency Director.  She has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Change and Leadership from Columbia College and has applied to the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science.  She has represented the South Carolina State Library both locally and nationally at the U.S. House and Senate and has over 20 years of experience in administration, business operations, budgeting, financial forecasting, leadership, and human resources.

“I believe that libraries are imperative to the success of a community and South Carolina as a whole,” said Benggio. She also stated, “South Carolinians use their libraries to look and apply for jobs, pursue personal interests, educate their families, and enrich their lives.  My work in libraries has been both rewarding and challenging, and I look forward to a successful future with all of our public libraries, partner agencies, and extraordinary staff.”

According to Debbie Hyler, South Carolina State Library Board Chair, “Leesa has been a loyal fixture within the library for years and has successfully led this agency in the past. We look forward to the future under her leadership.”

Benggio officially began her position as Acting Director of the South Carolina State Library on May 28, 2014.

Jun 2, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Columbia Museum of Art Reading and Art Program for Third-Graders a Success

“All Around Town: All Around the State” returns for the third year

The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA), in collaboration with Richland Library and the South Carolina State Library, provided a special arts and literacy field trip to more than 500 third-grade students from Richland, Kershaw, and Newberry counties, during April and May. “All Around Town, All Around the State” is a hands-on reading and art program that provides students with a rare cultural experience to which these children might not otherwise be exposed. This year Boundary Street Elementary and Gallman Elementary in Newberry County, C.C. Pinckney Elementary in Fort Jackson, Conder Elementary and Bookman Road Elementary in Richland County, and Doby’s Mill Elementary and Blaney Elementary in Kershaw County participated. The first-ever on-site presentations of the program occurred at the Conder and Bookman Road campuses this year, making the experience accessible to students unable to travel to the Museum.

“This program is always a delight and such a great way to combine art, literature, and history to teach children in an engaging way,” says Kerry Kuhlkin-Hornsby, CMA director of education. “We are excited this year to take All Around Town directly to children on-site at their schools that were unable to make it downtown. It is encouraging to see the program grow to reach even more students.”

The program includes three components: a dynamic, interactive reading by African-American author Dinah Johnson of her book All Around Town about the photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts, who lived and worked in Columbia; a guided tour of the Museum’s portrait collection to view original paintings and photographs including works by Roberts; and a hands-on studio arts component where students create a work of art to imagine what a person’s life was like.

“The South Carolina State Library was happy to once again partner with the Columbia Museum of Art and Richland Library,” says Denise Lyons, director of library development at the South Carolina State Library. “This high-quality, multi-component program is one example of how we view successful partnerships in the state between libraries and museums. This year we were able to welcome children from parts of the state who had not yet had the chance to participate. The uniqueness of the program is that children are exposed to original works of art at the museum, using that experience to create their own original artwork, followed by a trip to the Richland Library to engage with librarians and story, encouraging them to visit the public libraries in their own counties. It is a winning combination for third-graders who are at such a critical learning juncture.”

The CMA is very grateful to the South Carolina State Library for providing a copy of Johnson’s book to each student and for funding the author’s participation, and to Richland Library for all their support in making the program a success.

A special thanks to South Carolina Bank and Trust (SCBT) for its commitment to community enrichment and art education and for its generous support which helped fund “All Around Town, All Around the State.”

“We are excited to be a part of this much-needed program, which provides access to the arts to students of lower-income families,” says Montague Laffitte, president, SCBT Central Region. “Exposing children to the arts at a young age helps them be more well-rounded, creating greater opportunities for their future.”

Jun 2, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Kershaw County Library Announces Book to Action Project

Through a grant from the South Carolina State Library using funds from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Kershaw County Library will be encouraging reading and discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Recounting the year she and her family committed to eat only locally produced food, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author discusses both their efforts, which included growing their own produce, raising chickens, and buying from local farmers and farmers’ markets directly; and why.  To that point, Kingsolver raises issues related to modern food production and the way most eat today, including discussion of genetically modified food, the cost of transporting food internationally, and a lost connection with the natural world (and good tasting food).

“We believe the points made in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle will resonate. Many people have farmers in their family only a generation or two back, and that connection is still alive and well. Regardless of political persuasion, we have a lot of enthusiasm for gardening, local farming, and self-sufficiency,” states Library Director Amy Schofield. “It’s visible in the thriving farmer’s market, the proliferation of backyard gardens, and also in the concern I’ve heard expressed many times on how we can create a more healthy community and respect our natural world.”

To promote this book, the library will have extra copies available for checkout, and independent bookseller Books on Broad will have discounted copies on hand. In addition, book talk events are planned and some of the ideas discussed in the book will be placed into action. Throughout the summer the library will be hosting book discussions, cooking demonstrations with chefs and nutritionists, gardening workshops through the Kershaw County Master Gardeners, and even chicken coop building how-to sessions with local woodworker Anthony Hawkesworth.

As a way to promote the book (and its ideas) to families, the library will be providing a community garden on land adjacent to the Camden location, generously provided by The Mullikin Law Firm. Families are encouraged to learn with this garden, which will be called The Growing Plot. A kick-off event for The Growing Plot is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 3 at the Camden Library.

Children ages 5 and up will make a seed necklace that sprouts when worn, with guided instruction by representatives from the Certified SC Grown program, a division of the SC Department of Agriculture.

Schofield summarized the Book to Action project by stating that “the idea is to not only to read a book and talk about it, but also to be inspired by the ideas it raises, and from that inspiration do something positive for yourself and the community.”

For more information, please visit the library website at or contact Amy Schofield, Library Director at or 803-427-6420.