County needs to provide scanner for library

Dear Editor,

As someone who has lived other places, I often find myself staring in wide-eyed disbelief at the way a number of things are handled in Barnwell County.

Several months ago, I visited the main branch of the Barnwell County Library. I found an item of interest and wanted to scan a copy of it. I was shocked to learn than the main branch of the library does not have a scanner.

When I inquired the librarian told me that they usually had about three inquiries a day about using a scanner.

The library is a county-owned entity, and the buck stops with the county council, which draws a public salary, to serve the needs of the people whom they represent. Perhaps, they are just the illiterate type who never sets foot in a library, although I hope not.

I remember many years ago when I had difficulty with the county over an art exhibit, a former member of the county council (whom I actually like and respect) told me in no uncertain terms, “You’d better not say anything bad about Barnwell County!”

It seems that at least someone in leadership at the time cared about the image of Barnwell County.

What message does the lack of a scanner at the MAIN BRANCH of the county library send?

It would be about the same as the library not having a photocopier in 1987.

People from around the country come to Barnwell every week researching their families. Almost all will have visited other libraries where scanners are standard equipment. I am sure the impression of Barnwell they carry home with them is something like that of Bugtussle, Hooterville, Petticoat Junction, or some other hamlet in the environs of the Clampett family’s origin.

If three people are asking every day, that is over a thousand people a year. Scanning rather than photocopying yields images of a much higher quality with the added benefit of eliminating needless paper waste.

Although I am sure there is no one on the Barnwell County Council of the caliber of the sainted Al Gore, there may be one or two who actually care about the environment. I would urge the county council to see to it that at least the main branch of the library gets a digital scanner. It would not cost that much, and it would make the lives of many Barnwell residents and visitors easier.

Another issue is the condition of the Fuller House which houses the Barnwell County Museum.

While I am quite pleased at the progress the museum has made over the years and the wonderful expansion of the collection, I am flabbergasted at the physical state of the building. The old sunroom used for magazines when the house was the library leaks badly and is unusable. The gutters are falling off of the building, and I suspect that the electrical system needs a thorough inspection.

The Fullers were generous enough to give their beautiful home to the county, and the county should at least maintain it properly.

I am sure there are five places every dollar could go and that funding is limited, but the county’s heritage and priceless historical artifacts cannot be replaced once they have been destroyed or damaged.

Every member of the county council should hang his head in shame if this issue is not addressed immediately.


Jennings Rountree,


(formerly of Barnwell)