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World-renowed library director retires after 30 years

World-renowed library director retires after 30 years
A Martin native, well renowned for his work in libraries across the country, recently retired after three decades as a library director.
C. David Warren, longtime director of the Richland County Public Library (RCPL) in Columbia, S.C., retired in April after nearly 30 years of service.
Warren is recognized across the country and internationally for his leadership and strength in library management.
He is a native of Martin and the son of the late Charles A. and Evelyn Bell Warren.
Warren graduated from Martin High School and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
He completed graduate studies at the University of Illinois and the Harvard Business School.
Warren’s contributions to RCPL were recognized by hundreds of community leaders, library staff and supporters at a special reception, hosted by the Friends of RCPL to celebrate his service and accomplishments on April 2.
Congressional, state, county and city officials presented proclamations honoring Warren at the event.
The Friends and RCPL Boards presented a three-dimensional plaque of Warren with his accomplishments to be displayed in the entrance of the 242,000 square foot Main Library in downtown Columbia.
The RCPL Foundation, an organization founded by Warren to ensure quality library services and facilities for future generations, also announced the naming of the C. David Warren Gallery at the Main Library.
Warren was designated Executive Director Emeritus.
At its annual meeting in mid-April, the Friends of the South Carolina Libraries presented a lifetime achievement award to Warren for his accomplishments at RCPL, but also for his support and work on behalf of libraries statewide and across the country.
Warren came to RCPL in 1979, after serving seven years as the director of the Cumberland County Public Library in Fayetteville, N.C.
Before the North Carolina position, he served three years as director of the Shiloh Regional Library in Jackson.
Warren’s vision and guidance has led RCPL to be named national Library of the Year in 2001 and become a leader among public libraries in the Southeast and across the United States.
Warren attributes the success of the library to community support on the mission of the Richland County Public Library is to meet many levels, from an active board and a strong Friends’ group to library users who are vocal about how the library impacts their lives.
That support enabled a 73 percent approval of a $27 million bond referendum in 1989, which replaced a 32,000 square foot library in downtown Columbia with the current 242,000 square foot facility that has become a cornerstone of Columbia’s downtown growth and revitalization.
The referendum also provided for seven additional branch facilities throughout Richland County.
The RCPL system now includes 11 locations with the November 2007 opening of The Link, Ballentine, a unique facility in a growing part of the county that uses video reference technology to maximize staff and on-line resources.
“Having worked with wonderfully supportive Boards of Trustees and the most talented and professional staff to be found anywhere, I consider myself so very fortunate,” Warren said.
“Now, I find it is time for me to step aside for someone else to take charge of the bright future that is in store for RCPL.”
RCPL’s local funding has risen each year under his leadership, increasing to $29.6 million for FY 2009 from $1.5 million in FY 1980.
Warren’s efforts to involve the community and local supporters led to budget increases even with economic downturns and the implementation of a statewide property tax cap approved by voters in a November 2006 referendum.
Last year, RCPL attracted 2.1 million visitors to its 11 locations, and circulation was more than 3.3 million, in addition to being named the National Library of the Year in 2001, RCPL has also received state and national attention for its special services, including a Literary Residency program and its significant contributions to the arts and humanities in South Carolina.
Friends and family from across the nation were in attendance for the April 2 reception and other parties. Guests included Warren’s son and wife, Aaron and Diane Warren of Canton, Ga., his daughter Meredith, her husband, Steven Godbold and granddaughters Sarah Morgan and Eliza.
Another daughter, Julia and grandson Cole Warren Ethington of Lexington, Ky. could not be present.
Also in attendance were family members from Martin, including Brenda Armatys, Debbie and Raven Yeager and Cory and Robyn Armatys.
Warren resides at his homes in the historic district of Charleston, S.C. and in Columbia, S.C.
He is an associate consultant with Providence Associates headquartered in Sedona, Az.
WCP 5.28.09

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