The Richland County Public Library, a facility open to all people, is a perfect place to discover, observe and establish an appreciation of the arts and literature. Special programs, exhibits, theatrical performances and literary readings for all age groups - as well as RCPL's collection, resources and services - helped attract more than 1.8 million visitors to the library in 2005.
RCPL's Children's Room features a mural of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," making the library the first and only place where the renowned author has allowed his work to be used as public art. The Main Library is also home to a permanent collection of South Carolina art, including works by Blue Sky, Jean McWhorter and Philip Simmons, and special exhibits appear in the Wachovia Gallery throughout the year.
Based on the artist-in-residence concept, the library's Literary Residency program draws on the talents of area writers, actors and scholars to provide creative literary and historical presentations, lectures and workshops. The programs span many arts and humanities disciplines, always with a multicultural focus. More than 28,000 people attended the library's free programs and events in 2005.
The Richland County Public Library is recognized as a leader among libraries in the Southeast and across the United States. Innovative programs and services, outstanding staff, a strong Friends of RCPL organization and a community that eagerly supports its public library helped RCPL become the 2001 National Library of the Year. RCPL is the only county organization to be recognized with two prestigious state awards: the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Governors' Awards in the Humanities from the South Carolina Humanities Council.
The Richland County Public Library system includes a 242,000-square foot Main Library, located in Uptown Columbia on the corner of Assembly and Hampton Streets, nine branches and a bookmobile, with a collection of more than 1.2 million pieces.