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How to Use the South Caroliniana Library

Cleaning Out the Attic?

We all end up with some "junk" in a trunk that we don't know what to do with: papers in portmanteaus, books in boxes, and photo albums in the attic! Did you know that these are the types of things that the South Caroliniana Library collects?

The holdings of the South Caroliniana Library are primary resources for teaching and research, used by students and faculty from the University of South Carolina, the United States, and around the world. With the donation of each new collection from supporters like you, we are able to the increase the breadth and depth of our resources to better serve the educational needs of the University and of scholars who depend on our collections.

What We Collect


We collect Manuscripts, which are unpublished papers created by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations (such as churches or clubs). These include (but are in no way limited to!) letters, diaries, journals, plantation account books, church registers, and ledgers and records from business both small and large (from small country stories to giant textile industries).

If you would like to discuss donating manuscript materials to our library, please contact Graham Duncan, the Head of Collections and Curator of Manuscripts.

Published Materials

The library attempts to collect all Published Materials that have at least some connection to the state of South Carolina. These include histories, biographies, genealogies, newspapers, novels, maps, and serials, such as newsletters or church bulletins. If it was written by someone from South Carolina, about someone from SC, or has even just a sentence or two referencing the state, we would love to add a copy to our collection!

If you would like to discuss donating published materials to our library, please contact Edward Blessing, the Head of User Services and Curator of Published Materials.

Visual Materials

Examples of visual materials that the library collects includes a wide variety of media that document the people, places, and culture of South Carolina, such as photographs, postcards, stereographs, cartes-de-visite, prints, original artwork, and design records from architectural and landscaping firms.

If you would like to discuss donating visual materials to our library, please contact Beth Bilderback, the Visual Materials Archivist.

University Archives

The University Archives collects 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!

If you would like to discuss donating materials relating to the history of the University of South Carolina, please contact Elizabeth West, the University Archivist.

Formats We Can Preserve

Our collections have traditionally been made up of paper documents and volumes, photographs and negatives, and other physical materials. While the library seeks and accepts many donations that still fit this description, we are also increasingly involved in the collection of digital resources. Donors whose collections document the latter years of the 20th century or the 21st century are likely to have digital materials that are of interest to us. These may include:

  • Computers (laptop, desktop) and tablets (such as an iPad): These may contain digital text files, photos, videos, audio recordings, spreadsheets, databases, and other types of files that document the life and work of an individual or the history of an institution.
  • Storage media (floppy disks, CDs, flash drives, external hard drives, etc.): Some donors may have stored the types of files listed above on digital storage media instead of on their computer or may wish to transfer them to storage media rather than donating their computer.
  • Email: This mode of communication has replaced handwritten letters and memos for many of us, and sometimes documents significant moments in our lives and work.
  • Smartphones: Some donors may have information of enduring value stored on their phones, such as significant text messages and voicemails, or data stored in apps that represent the donor’s life, work, or history.
  • Cloud accounts: This type of file storage is ubiquitous in the 21st century. Donors may have digital text files, photos, videos, audio recordings, spreadsheets, databases, and other types of files stored in a cloud environment like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Websites, blogs, and social media: Information created by and about individuals and organizations is often found on the web and can be added to a donor’s manuscript collection through a process called web archiving. For many individuals, these resources have replaced traditional diaries, journals, and scrapbooks. For organizations, information and documents that were once available in paper form now appear on institutional websites.

When considering a donation, donors are encouraged to consider both physical and digital materials and discuss them with our staff.