Melanie Huggins is the executive director of Richland Library in Columbia, SC, which received the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor.
Melanie loves to share “Library as Studio”(www.learncreateshare.vision) a vision and program document being used at the framework for her library’s current renovations and expansions funded by a successful 2013 bond referendum. The eleven renovations and new building projects include a joint-use, project based learning high school paired with a 30,000 SF library branch and the renovation of 240,000 SF of library space at the Main Library that includes artists’ studios, a theatre, film and media production labs and a maker space.
Melanie was named a 2018 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands for her lasting impact in the community, and was an honoree of Columbia Regional Business Report’s 2018 Women of Influence. She was the first woman to win the 2018 Stephen G. Morrison Visionary Award from One Columbia for Arts and History. She has been included on Columbia Business Monthly’s list of the 50 Most Influential People for the past three years. Her work is influenced by her belief that libraries are uniquely positioned to make communities more livable, resilient, and inclusive.
Melanie is a recognized leader and speaker in the library profession having held trustee positions with both the Urban Libraries Council and the Public Library Association. In 2012, she was named South Carolina Outstanding Librarian by the South Carolina Library Association. She is a Liberty Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network; a member of the Spring 2018 class of Furman University’s Riley Diversity Leaders Institute; Chair of the TogetherSC Board; President of the University of South Carolina’s University Associates Board; Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice (MOREJustice) representative; and a harried, forgetful mom to Adeline, Lila and Shepard and concert-going buddy to her super-smart husband, J.C.