Economy boosts library activity: Charleston, Richland ranked among best

The Charleston County Public Library, the busiest library in South Carolina, is one of the best libraries in the nation, according to a new survey.
Library Journal did a survey of over 7,000 libraries and ranked them according to the number of visitors, the number of books that were checked out, the number of people that came to programs and the number of people using computers,” says Charleston County Public Library Acting Executive Director Cynthia Bledsoe.
Bledsoe says the Charleston County Public Library ranked so high- the highest in the state- that they received Library Journal’s star rating. She says the award symbolizes community involvement, but there’s another reason why there was a 22 percent increase in library members last year, the economy.
“Well I think people are looking for ways to stretch their dollar and these things have been available for them but perhaps it was easy for them to go to a bookstore or to just purchase, you know, maybe get Netflix and as they are looking for ways to economize, these things are available for free,” says Bledsoe.
Because of this, Bledsoe says they are busier than they have ever been. In the most recent budget year, the Charleston County Public Library’s circulation reached 3.42 million and patron visits reached more than 2 million.
The only other library in South Carolina to receive this recognition was The Richland County Public Library.