Highlights in the Development of the Florence County Library System

1870 – The seeds of desire for a library were planted when Attorney Belton O’neall Townsend began the practice of lending books from his office.

1903 – A library was established in City Hall by the Florence Civic Improvement Society. The Librarian was Florence Harllee, for whom the City of Florence is named.

1920 – State Senator D. Gordon Baker introduced a General Assembly bill, drafted by Henry E. Davis, challenging the local school commissioners to “accept or establish” a public library.

1923 – Local citizens approved a 3-mill tax carmarked for the purpose of building a library.

1924 – The library board purchased the home site of Gen. W. W. Harllee at a cost of $20,000.

1925 – The Florence Public Library building was dedicated on November 4.

1926 – Public library access was provided to the African American community via a room located at Wilson High School. This facility was the predecessor to the Bowler Branch Library.

1927 – The acquisition of the Samuel A. Graham History Collection became the nucleus of the present-day South Carolina Collection.

1935 – The Florence County Circulating Library, essentially a bookmobile service which served the county’s African American and white communitites, was established by the WPA.

1956 – The Lake City Library moved into a new building.

1957 – Classes for USC at Florence (the precursor to Francis Marion University) began in the Main Library Basement.

1961 – The library gained independence from the Florence School District and officially opened its doors to African American clientele.

1964 – Consolidation of the Florence Public Library and the Florence County Circulating Library formed the Florence County Library System.

1968 – The Pamplico Public Library was established as part of the Florence County Library System.

1970 – Bowler Branch Library closed.

1971 – Timmonsville Public Library opened in a leased facility.

1974 – Pamplico Public Library moved to 180 East Main Street (now mayor’s office).

1976 – A first edition Men of Mark in South Carolina by James C. Hemphill, donated by Mrs. Elizabeth N. Saunders and John L. Napier, was designated the 100,000th volume acquired by the library.

1977 – The J. Frank Davenport, Sr., Memorial Building became the current home of the Timmonsville Public Library.

1978 – An addition to the original Main Library more than doubled the service area.

1979 – Johnsonville Public Library moved into a new building.

1981 – Olanta Public Library opened as the newest branch of the Florence County Library System.

1985 – Johnsonville facilities were expanded, more than doubling the service area.

1991 – Automation of all library system collections began with a goal of providing all library facilities access to all library resources.

1997 – All library facilities were connected to the Internet through the generosity of the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation and State Legislature.

2001 – Lake City Public Library opened in its new and current location.

2002 – Groundbreaking of Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library.

2004 – Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library opened.

2005 – Groundbreaking of the Dozier M. Munn Pamplico Public Library.

2007 – Opening of the Dozier M. Munn Pamplico Public Library

2008 – Groundbreakings for Dr. John M. Thomason Public Library (Olanta) and Baker Memorial Library (Timmonsville)

2009 – Groundbreakings for Johnsonville Public Library

2010 – Opening of the Dr. John M. Thomason Public Library (Olanta), Baker Memorial Library (Timmonsville) and the Johnsonville Public Library