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Letter: Richland County Library Shredding Classics




Dear Editor: The Richland County Public Library has been shredding vast numbers of books and other county-owned materials, materials that are often brand-new.  This abuse and misuse of public funds has accelerated recently.  During a recent visit to the Main Library, aisle after aisle showed empty shelves, with volunteer workers quickly removing items for shredding.  We are told that liquidation is set from February 16, 2015, in only a few days, when the library will be closed to the public.

The most recent “Letter from the Director” in the Friends of the Library magazine states that the Library Director, Melanie Huggins, weeds with “soulless detachment.”  She has weeded the library with the same “soulless detachment,” disposing of irreplaceable public property without compunction or the barest hesitation.  She has no sense of duty or of stewardship.  When asked, the Library tells the public that the Director is “cultivating” the collection, yet week after week, Shred-A-Way collects thousands upon thousands of books to be shredded at the public’s expense.  If taxpayers try to contact the Director or her executive staff, they cannot be found because they are rarely at work.  Huggins’ actions represent government waste and are an abuse of the public’s trust.

When citizens search for favorite books that were once on the shelf, they discover that they have been deleted.  Classics, cookbooks, crafts, fiction–all manner of new and irreplaceable books have gone to the shredder.  Shelves are being emptied.  At the same time, the Library Friends group sends out begging letters requesting more funds because of unchecked spending on Huggins’ vanity projects.  Citizens who cannot use electronic materials are deprived of the “access” that Library leaders promise with the new “Access Freely” brand, another huge waste of money.  Taxpayers are outraged at this pattern of reckless spending.  These so-called leaders of the library shamefully took the Public and the County out of the Library.  It is past time to put them back in.

This library “CEO” puts the library in the red at a time when she was given $60 million in bond money, which, to date, has gone unaccounted for.  Citizens have yet to see any building plans for the renovations they are paying for.  Library board meetings and governance are far from open.  The current leadership of the library has a history of financial failure and misuse of funds. It’s time to stop their financial waste and fraud and ensure fiduciary responsibility.  Where is the oversight?  The Library Board has so far failed to exercise oversight.  The next board meeting is February 9.  Who will save our library?

Joe Richland
Columbia, S.C.



Thanks for your letter, Joe.  Please keep us in the loop on what happens at the meeting on February 9.  This website has consistently opposed government funding for libraries – and argued that “spending tax dollars to improve them is a total waste of money.”

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