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How to Use the South Caroliniana Library


You're ready to start your research with primary sources, but where to begin? Check out the boxes below to start working with South Caroliniana Library collections.

Schedule Your Visit:
Please contact us at least 1 business day in advance to schedule a visit; many of our collection materials are housed offsite and we need time to make sure that are here when you arrive. You can email, or call us at (803) 777-3132. Our hours are M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

What To Expect:
Because our historic building is currently closed for renovations, we are providing research access to materials in the Graniteville Room, located on the mezzanine level of the Thomas Cooper Library. You will need to leave your bags, jacket, and any food or beverage in a locker, located in the hallway just outside our reading room. Laptops, notebooks, pencil, camera, phone, and/or books are all permitted in the reading room. The librarian at the desk will provide you with your requested materials and will instruct you on how to properly handle them.

Collecting Areas


Manuscripts include papers created by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations (such as churches or clubs), and do not – in general – include South Carolina government records (these are held by the State Archives). The library holds the papers of some pre-WWII elected officials, while the South Carolina Political Collections focuses on the papers of post-WWII politicians.

Author and subject searches in the catalog, using the format “surname, first initial,” or “surname family” are the best way to locate these collections. You can also keyword search the catalog, although this may generate an overwhelming number of results!

Published Materials

The library attempts to collect all published materials that have at least some connection to the state of South Carolina. Histories, serials, biographies, newspapers, novels, and maps: you can find all of these and more in our catalog.

Visual Materials

Examples of visual materials include photographs, postcards, prints, original artwork, and design records from architectural and landscaping firms.

When searching for photographs of places or individuals in our catalog try doing a subject search, and look for results that include the terms such as “pictorial works,” “portraits,” or “postcard.” Keyword searching for visual materials also works well, but you’ll want to include a word such as “photograph*” (the asterisk is important!) to ensure relevant results.

University Archives

The University Archives holds the official records – past and present – of the University of South Carolina, including those of the President, Provost, Board of Trustees, and other academic and administrative units. There are also many photographs available of the University throughout the years!

Finding aids for these some of these collections can be found in ArchivesSpace, while others are available in our online catalog.

How to Discover Collection Materials

Visit Us

Graniteville Reading Room, Thomas Cooper Library
Hours: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 803-777-3132

Paid visitor parking is available in the Bull Street garage (map).

Many of our collections are stored off-site, so please contact us in advance of your research visit so that we can have everything ready for you.

Please note that you will need to provide a valid photo id (license, state-issued id, student id, military id, passport, etc) before you begin using materials.

Pointers on Archival Research