University of South Carolina Libraries

The library resources of the University of South Carolina are housed primarily in the Thomas Cooper Library, the Coleman Karesh Law Library of the School of Law, and the School of Medicine Library. The University of South Carolina holds membership in the Association of Research Libraries.

University Libraries

The components of the University Libraries which are located on the Columbia campus are Thomas Cooper Library, Business Administration Library, Mathematics Library, Music Library, and South Caroliniana Library.

The Thomas Cooper Library is a seven story structure near the geographic center of the campus. The Library seats 2,400 people, contains over 3,000,000 volumes, 4,000,000 microfilms, 1,000,000 manuscripts, 300,000 maps, 875,427 government documents and houses the University's special collections. The Library contains a Student Computer Lab, with over 200 IBM and Macintosh networked workstations, 900 locked faculty and graduate student study carrels, and 40 group study rooms.

The staff of the Thomas Cooper library and its affiliated libraries is composed of 164 full-time and 4 part-time employees and supplemented by approximately 100 student assistants. Sixty-two of the full time staff are librarians holding faculty positions with appropriate degrees in library science from accredited library schools.

University Libraries hold membership in the Southeastern Library Network, which provides online automated cataloging services and interlibrary lending. Other automated services include an online catalog (NOTIS), online circulation system (NOTIS), online acquisitions system (NOTIS), a CD-ROM network, and online reference service from a variety of vendors. The online catalog is available from off-campus locations.

Coleman Karesh Law Library

The Coleman Karesh Law Library, the largest law library in the State of South Carolina, is located in the Law Center. The Law Library is an integral part of the School of Law, reporting administratively to the Dean of the Law School. In addition to supporting the research and study of the University's law students and law faculty, the Law Library serves the legal research needs of other University students and faculty and the state's legal community and public.

The four-story facility houses a collection of over 300,000 volumes. The focus of the collection is primary and secondary American Law materials, but includes a growing collection of international law materials. The Law Library provides seating for over 600 researchers, including carrels, study rooms, and open table seating.

The Law Library staff consists of 15 full-time employees and 5 FTE of temporary and student employees. The seven librarians of the law Library staff hold graduate degrees in library science. Four of the librarians also have legal training. The librarians, with the exception of the Director of the Law Library, are members of the Law Library Faculty. The Director of the Law Library is a member of the Law School Faculty.

The Law Library holds membership in the Southeastern Library Network for cataloging and interlibrary loan. The Law Library also participates in the University's automated NOTIS system, utilizing the online catalog, acquisitions and circulation modules.

School of Medicine Library

The School of Medicine Library is located approximately four miles from the main campus. It is an integral part of the School of Medicine which is adjacent to the Veteran's Administration Hospital on Garners Ferry Road. In addition to serving the School of Medicine, the Medical Library is an information resource for health care practitioners throughout the state.

The School of Medicine Library contains over 95,000 volumes of highly specialized material relating to medicine and subscribes to over 1,200 periodicals.

The Library staff is composed of 17 full-time employees, seven of whom are librarians who hold faculty positions and possess appropriate graduate degrees in library science. The Medical Library Faculty are tenure-track members of the School of Medicine Faculty.

The School of Medicine Library holds membership in the Southeastern Library Network for cataloging and interlibrary loan. The Medical Library participates in the University's automated NOTIS system.

Combined holdings for the University Libraries, the Coleman Karesh Law Library, and the School of Medicine Library:


FY 01 FY 02 FY 03 FY 04 FY 05


3,283,749 3,333,764 3,374,496 3,436,445 3,498,445


4,939,906 5,008,383 5,060,469 5,108,721 5,116,024

Periodical Titles

21,426 21,836 22,744 24,152 23,740

US Documents

866,950 876,308 906,605 915,996 926,650


312,502 312,950 313,400 315,585 313,495

Graphic Units

250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000

Audio Units

33,378 33,953 34,315 35,149 34,851

Film/Video Units

11,579 11,997 12,333 13,913 13,000

Cartographic Units

338,000 338,000 338,000 313,400 313,400


916,149 923,940 977,988 1,016,408 996,721

Inter-Library Loan



27,309 26,403 19,117 20,166 19,650


18,983 21,095 22,019 26,061 21,500


46,292 47,498 41,136 46,227 41,150

Reference Questions

238,181 228,778 167,964 171,063 174,800