What do you do with a couple days off?  Why, you have a libraryfest!

On Sunday evening, there was a sudden storm coming in from the east, with one tornado spotted east of me and another spotted to the west, and hail to boot.  Monday was all clear, so Sugar and I set off for Columbia in search of a libraryfest.

I’ve always heard that Columbia was the hottest place on earth, a real armpit of civilization.  By some strange reasoning, I never wanted to go.  I’d been there once to the public library as an offshoot of a trip to see the BabyGirl when she went to college in a nearby town.  It was a good library, but I couldn’t spend much time there, and I didn’t go anywhere else in Columbia.  Imagine my surprise when we found a shady, pedestrian-friendly, colorful downtown.

The Richland County Public Library

Need proof that I didn’t steal this photo online?

Ole Yeller

Here’s a pitcher of my car in front of the lie-berry.  Sore-thumb much?  But look at all the other cars.  Dull and drab.  Easy to find this little car in a crowd.  The street in front of the library was divided with a median of shady trees.  Love it.

Sugar found the article he wanted, about Garnett and Lawton stuff of course, we made copies, and went in search of lunch.  The folks at this library were super friendly and helpful, so I took a chance that someone could tell us where we could walk for a quick lunch.  One of the nice ladies at the check-out desk suggested the Gotham Bagel Cafe, only a block away. 

As it turned out, the restaurant was near the state house, but we didn’t stop in to see Mark Sanford.  We were more interested in something more interesting.  The restaurant was located in a redeveloped area.

A former movie theatre

It wasn’t quite lunch time so the place was nearly empty.  When we tried to order the “ministrone” soup that was listed as a special, we were told that it was sold out.  How a misspelled soup was sold out before lunch even began was a little confusing, but, anyway, that’s the story we got.  The food that we DID get was fabulous.  It was some kind of yummy hummus in a spinach wrap.  We were really whooping it up so we got a beer that we split between us.  Now, that’s living it up.  Just for fun, one of the beers in the case appeared to be Biblical.  The name of the company was “He-Brews”. 

On the walk back to the car, I took pictures of random stuff.

Giant chain holds the bagel joint to the jewelers next door.

Only 12:15. Finished with lunch and the day is young.

I see the word fountain but I don't see water.

No time for culture at the Museum of Art - we're going to another lie-berry.

Hydrangeas and azaleas

Our little town only has three traffic lights. Check out the power that the Columbia citizens have.

We got directions from the friendly library people on how to get to the Caroliniana Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina.  It was fairly easy to find although the building didn’t face the street. 

You are here. Sorry about the bird poop on the sign.

The marker reads as follows: 

The central portion of this structure is the oldest freestanding college library in the United States and has served continuously as a library since its completion in 1840.  It is based upon design elements by South Carolina native and nineteenth-century federal architect Robert Mills.  Its reading room was inspired by Charles Bullfinch’s 1818 design for the US Capitol’s Library of Congress room, which was destroyed by fire in 1851.

Known only as the College Library for its first 100 years, wings designed by architect J. Carroll Johnson were added in 1927.  When a larger main library was erected in 1940, this building became a repository for published and unpublished materials relating to the history, geography, literature, and culture of South Carolina.  It was named the South Caroliniana Library – the term “Caroliniana” meaning “things pertaining to Carolina.”


The library itself was on the second floor.  The librarian explained that this was a “closed stack” library, meaning that the staff had to retrieve the books and research materials, which meant that you had to have a clue what you were looking for, since you couldn’t browse the shelves.  There was an immense card catalog to browse, but that just wasn’t the same.  Sugar found a pamphlet about the 1963 Lawton Family reunion, written by Inabinette, which was retrieved for him.  The staff also had to make copies, and they didn’t do it right that minute, so copies had to be mailed to you.  We didn’t stay too long there. 

We went on to the State Archives and History Center.  They didn’t ask me how to improve their system, so I didn’t tell them, but I will tell you that the guard with the gun at the reception desk was friendly, but the staff at the desk in the research room didn’t even speak to us when we entered or left.  There were lots of microfilm there, but that takes lots of time to search.  We weren’t looking for anything specific, just checking the place out to see what they had to offer.

We went home by the scenic route, which added an hour to a two hour trip.  It was a lovely day with a couple of good finds, and the weather held out with no bad storms.  Road trip, anyone?

Tags: ,

5 Responses to “LibraryFest”

  1. Kari Says:

    What a lovely day! We have the best library about 2 miles from my house. I will have to take some pictures of it for you.


  2. ruthrawls Says:

    It was a good day! And today we went to the Beidler Forest!


  3. Leo Says:

    Is the Beidler Forest full of Beidler Family Trees? My niece’s daughter lives in Columbia.


  4. The Plantation Broker « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] May 24, 2010, The Sugar and I went on a LibraryFest in Columbia, SC. One of the quests was to find a magazine article about John King Garnett. Sugar […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: