History of the Latta Public Library

The Dillon County Library traces its beginnings to the establishment of the Latta Public Library in June 1914.  In 1911 Reverend W.C. Allen, pastor of the Baptist Church in Latta, began to agitate the matter of a public library for the town.   The Town Council endorsed his efforts and a library association was formed and duly chartered.  Through the efforts of the association a $5,000 grant was secured from the Carnegie Foundation (the last grant given by that foundation) for a library building on the condition that the town furnishes a lot in the center of town.  The site had to be easily accessible from all sections of the community.  Mr. Carl F. Bass donated a lot, located on the northwest end of Main Street, where the library was constructed.   The maintenance fund of $500 was guaranteed by placing a one-mill tax on all property in the Latta School District.

    The structure has only been renovated twice in its history.   The first time was in 1936.  During the Depression, the WPA Library Project provided additional personnel, binding and book repair, and added a large annex to the building.  Then in 1955 the library underwent another update at which time the north wing was added to the building and the heating and air conditioning system were installed.

     Mr. H.A. Bethea was elected chairman of the Latta Library Board and was later honored by being selected the first chairman of the South Carolina State Library Board.  The first years of the library saw a succession of librarians.   Mrs. T.C. McGee in 1915 was the first, then Mrs. Lola Sessions (1917), Mrs. Ada Edwards (1918), and finally Mrs. Wessie Braddy.  Mrs. Braddy served as librarian from 1921 to 1930.  Mrs. C.E. (Mary Bell Manning) Bethea took command in 1930 and retired in 1972 after forty two years as director of the library. At that time the South Carolina State Library offered a special project to the Dillon County Library which would enable it to employ a professional librarian for the first time.  The board accepted the offer and in June the new librarian, Ms. Janice E. Pepper, reported for duty.

    The Dillon County Library officially moved to Dillon on April 9, 2000.  After 27 years the library in Latta is once again known as the Latta Library.  

 

Latta Librarians

Mrs. T.C. McGee 1915-1917

Mrs. Lola Sessions 1917-1918

Mrs. Ada Edwards 1918-1921

Mrs. Wessie Braddy 1921-1930

Mrs. C.E. Bethea 1930-1973

 

Latta Library Branch Managers

Mrs. Hyatha L. Brigman 193(?)-1979

Mrs. Barbara H. Henderson 1979-1986

Mrs. Yolanda McCormick 1986-1996

Mrs. Christy Berry 1997-2001

Mrs. Vanessa Bildon 2001-Present