County Council renames St. Andrews library to honor Cynthia Hurd

Cynthia Hurd, one of the nine churchgoers killed last week in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church, looks over a reproduction of the original of the Charleston Messenger found inside the John L. Dart Library in 2002.

Renaming a library in Cynthia Hurd’s honor is a fitting tribute to the woman who loved books and serving her community, her husband said.

“People will look up and see her name and remember her every day,” Arthur Hurd said Thursday, after Charleston County Council voted unanimously to change the name of the St. Andrews Regional Library to the Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Regional Library.

Cynthia Hurd managed the library, one of Charleston County’s busiest branches. She was killed June 17, along with eight others in the Emanuel AME Church shooting.

Hurd’s family members and friends filled the front row of County Council chambers as Chairman Elliott Summey read the resolution about changing the library’s name. It recognized Hurd as a Christian and an exemplary community and library leader.

“There have been nothing but good things said about her because that’s how she lived her life,” Arthur Hurd said.

County spokesman Shawn Smetana said arrangements have not yet been made for changing the library’s sign, or for a ceremony to honor Hurd.

The library is located in West Ashley at 1735 N. Woodmere Drive, just off Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.

Hurd, 54, worked with the county’s libraries for 31 years, serving as branch manager of the John L. Dart Branch from 1990 to 2011 before becoming manager of the St. Andrews library.

In a 2003 interview, she said the best thing about being a librarian was the chance to serve others. “I like helping people find answers,” she said. “Your whole reason for being there is to help people.”

Her brother, Malcolm Graham, said he and his siblings had attended church at Emanuel AME since they were children.

“She was always a book nerd, always a very smart young lady, and she loved reading from a very young age,” he said. “She loved her job and really loved helping people, especially kids.”

Hurd on Wednesday was also honored by the College of Charleston, where she was the longest serving part-time librarian. The school’s Board of Trustees renamed the Colonial Scholarship, a full academic scholarships for in-state students, the Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Scholarship. Twelve are awarded each year.

Hurd’s wake will be from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Friday at Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun St. Her funeral will take place there at 11 a.m. Saturday. All of the county’s 16 branches will close Saturday to allow employees to attend her service.

The county also has set up a fund in her honor to continue her work. Those donations may be sent to Charleston County Public Library, c/o Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Fund, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston, SC 29401.

Robert Behre contributed to this report. Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.