The Board of Trustees of the Charleston County Public Library sadly announces the death of the Library's Executive Director Thomas A. Raines, Jr.
on Sunday, October 12, 2008.
Raines, a Library veteran with 42 years experience, joined Charleston County's Public Library 27 years ago as Deputy Director and served in that role until January 2008,when he became Executive Director after theretirement of Director Jan Buvinger.
In acknowledgement of Raines' illness and at his recommendation, the Board of Trustees named Cynthia Bledsoe as Acting Director on October 6, 2008. A 35-year veteran of Library service, Bledsoe joined the Charleston County Public Library in 1999 as Main Library Manager.
A 1991 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a master's of Science and Library Information Science, Bledsoe worked with the Dorchester County Public Library for seven years, including serving twice as Interim Director, before joining the Charleston County system.
"I'm proud of the direction established for the Charleston County libraries and can assure the public that our Board and our employees are dedicated to working together to see that the Library's commitment to excellence continues and grows," Bledsoe said.
During Raines' tenure with the Library, he and Buvinger led the system during massive growth, ultimatelyresulting in its recognition nationally and statewide as a leader in Library services. Charleston County Public Library has the highest circulation, the most locations, the most patron visits and the most public programs and attendance of any public library in the state.
The Library went through major changes after the public overwhelmingly approved a $15.75 million bond issue in 1986 to expand the number of library locations. Their support and demand for more services led to the 1992 opening of four new Regional Libraries - Mt. Pleasant, St. Andrews, Dorchester Road and Otranto Road -and the 1998 opening ofa new Main Library. The system further grew in 2004 with the opening of the John's Island Regional Library.
In recalling their years together, Buvinger praised Raines' impact and commitment to the Library.
"Tom's entire life was devoted to public libraries and excellence in public library service. For him, service came first. He was a true professional, innovative and knowledgeable, and anxious to provide Charleston County residents with the best services available ... His death is a great loss to me as a personal friend and as a co-partner in making the Charleston Public Library a value for the community."
Raines, a 66-year-old Goose Creek resident,received his bachelor's in 1964 from Southwestern at Memphis, Tenn. and his master's in Library Science in 1968 from Emory University. Prior to moving to Charleston, he worked for the Memphis and Shelby County Public Library and Information Center, ultimately serving as head of the Literature, Philosophy and Religion Department and Popular Library.
During his years in the Library field, Raines was a member of numerous national and state professional associations and served on various committees, task forces and boards.
Memorials or Donations
Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to the Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401 or Hospice of Charleston, Inc., 3870 Leeds Avenue, SU 101, North Charleston, SC 29405. A memorial message may be written to the family by visiting the Funeral Home's Web site at www.jhenrystuhr.com.