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University Libraries

University Libraries Welcomes Nathan Saunders as Director of the South Caroliniana Library

Dr. Nathan Saunders will be the next director of the South Caroliniana Library (SCL).

Dr. Saunders, who currently serves as Associate Director for Library Specialized Collections at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, will assume his new role on November 1. His ties to University Libraries and the University of South Carolina already run deep: He earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees in history from the university and previously served as curator of manuscripts at the South Caroliniana Library. He also served as a graduate assistant in the South Carolina Political Collections in 2014/2015.

“I am extremely pleased that we were able to recruit Nathan back to USC,” says David Banush, Dean of Libraries. “His combination of experience and education will be a great asset to the South Caroliniana as it moves into the next phase of its life after its renovation and reopening.”

Associate Dean of Special Collections Elizabeth Sudduth says Dr. Saunders’ background and previous connections to SCL and its collections make him a natural fit for the role: “We are excited to have Nathan return to USC as the new Director of the South Caroliniana Library. He has the education, experience and vision to lead the South Caroliniana Library, one of the premier research archives and special collections in the southeast.”

History department chair Jessica Elfenbein adds that Dr. Saunders’ academic experience equips him well to serve SCL and its patrons: “The Department of History is delighted to welcome back our alumnus, Nathan Saunders, PhD, as the Director of the South Caroliniana Library. We are certain that his experience both at SCL and, more recently, at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, prepares him well. As leader of SCL, Dr. Saunders is poised to move this world-class collection forward in many important ways. We simply couldn’t be more pleased.”

In addition to his history degrees from USC, Dr. Saunders holds an MA in teaching from Duke University, an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an MLIS from East Carolina University. He is the author of several articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries and has taught history at UNC-W, USC, and at Woodmont High School in Greenville, SC. He has given numerous invited talks and conference presentations.

“Serving as director of the South Caroliniana Library is an honor and a privilege,” Dr. Saunders says. “The staff and collections of the South Caroliniana are truly unparalleled when it comes to facilitating the study of South Carolina’s history and culture. Besides, coming back to the University of South Carolina is like coming home.”

Dr. Saunders joins the South Caroliniana Library at an inflection point in its history. The nation’s oldest freestanding university library, it has been under renovation since 2017 and is reopening to the university community and the general public this semester. As home to a wide range of materials about the culture and history of South Carolina and the Southeast over the past 300+ years, SCL is a vital resource for scholars, genealogists, documentary filmmakers, and many others. Its unique collections also enhance coursework at the university, allowing students to explore how major historical events played out in the everyday lives of South Carolinians. 

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