Celebrating 10 Years of Discus!

Discus - South Carolina's Virtual Library is celebrating a ten year milestone as the provider of quality electronic library resources to the citizens of South Carolina.

This special anniversary edition of the Discus Monitor (reproduced here on our Web site) takes a look at the people, the events and the journey that have guided the development of the Discus program from its inception till the present day.

Timeline of Noteworthy Events

From its inception ten years ago as a South Carolina State Library initiative, the primary goal of the Discus program has been to ensure equity of access to a core collection of electronic information resources for everyone in South Carolina.

Who were the movers and shakers in getting the Discus ball rolling? How was the program initially funded? How many databases were available to users during the early years? Read the full Discus Timeline (pdf) for an overview of the events that have guided and shaped South Carolina's Virtual Library.

Discus on Video!

Take a look at this 10-minute video to get a unique perspective on Discus from those who have been associated with the program during its existence. (Please be patient while the video loads, which may take up to a minute.) The video includes comments by Mary Bull, former Discus Program Director, who was instrumental in establishing and launching the program.

Celebrating 10 Years of Discus from South Carolina State Library on Vimeo.

Discus Facts & Figures

Discus Usage Graph. Click to enlarge. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of media specialists and librarians across the state, Discus use has grown steadily over the years - showing strong evidence of its value as an information resource for all state citizens. The growth between the first and second year alone was a whopping 321%!

Since then, usage has shown a continuing upward trend - averaging a 13% increase annually. As Discus entered its fourth year, the State Library was proud to announce that the total number of items retrieved had passed the 10.7 million mark! By the end of the 2007/08 fiscal year, South Carolina citizens had retrieved more than 57 million items through Discus!

Each year Discus has also demonstrated its cost effectiveness and efficient use of state funds. For example, for 2007/08:

  • $2.35 million - statewide licensing cost for Discus databases
  • $41.3 million - cost should libraries subscribe individually
  • This is a difference of $39 million.
  • For every dollar spent, $17.57 was realized in cost avoidance/savings.

Additional 2007/08 information to note:

  • Usage: 8.5+ million items retrieved, a 12% increase over FY 06/07
  • Usage by category:
    • K-12 community: 64%
    • Academic libraries: 31%
    • Public libraries: 5%
  • Training: 1,547 people attended a variety of workshops and presentations. This represents a 77% increase over FY 06/07.

In conclusion, Discus plans to continue to offer high quality resources in a variety of subject areas and formats to meet the information needs of South Carolina citizens. With the help of the library community, the continued success of the Discus training program, and Discus/State Library promotional efforts, we look forward to continued growth and effectiveness over the next 10 years!

From the Files

Blowing away the dust of ten years, we've uncovered some documents and photos that relay a bit of Discus history. They can be viewed on the "10 Years of Discus" Flickr photostream.

Discus Thoughts and Memories

"I was in high school when Discus was first launched and (I) loved learning about the new databases. I remember being grateful that there was an online source I could use. Teacher practically outlawed online sources. I now work at a public library and really emphasize Discus not just to students but to all patrons...thank you, State Library, for giving us such a great resource!"

-Theresa Wagner
Charleston County Public Library


"There have been instances when the Discus databases have been the Library's only source of information on certain topics. Discus has been a tremendous complement to our Library's collection."

-Yvonne Hudgens
Greenwood County Library


"Discus has been such a blessing to me for the past 10 years. It was my saving grace during graduate school. I lived in a rural area on the coast with my young family and was able to complete my Masters in Library and Information Science degree by utilizing Discus in the late hours of the night and during "nap" time. I appreciate so much the access to free and reliable sources! Part of my experience has been in a corporate library and I remember the budgeting of electronic resources and those mile high CD towers!"

-Debbie Jackson
Lexington School District One


"Major initial benefit for our library...(our) effort to install the Internet in the library was on the slow track. When I informed the President that I would have to purchase CD products rather than use Discus products without charge because the Internet was not connected to the library, he issued a direct order to install the Internet in January 2000."

-Name withheld by request


"Two things are at the top of my list .... More resources than I could possibly afford and having the additional funds to spend on books that would have gone to just the InfoTrac subscription. Thank you so much (for all) of these. I am always bragging to colleagues outside of this state about this wonderful program and how it is available to all South Carolinians in all libraries and at home. It shows this state is not as backward and lost in the dark ages of education and technology as we are often made out to be in the press."

-Sandy Parker
Dorchester School District 2


"When Discus first became available to the Reference Department at Marion County Library, I could not believe the impact this made on the quality of 'help' I was able to give to our patrons. Discus and the computer has changed reference work forever."

-Georgia Lee
Marion County Library

Thanks Are in Order

Numerous people have generously donated their time and expertise during the past ten years as members of Discus advisory committees. The committees have consisted of representatives from all three library communities served by Discus: K-12 school media centers, public libraries and academic libraries. Sincere thanks and appreciation go out to all former and current committee members for their valuable guidance to the Discus program!