Helen Keller Public Library

511 North Main Street
Tuscumbia, AL 35674


History of the Helen Keller Public Library

The Helen Keller Library is the oldest chartered library in Alabama in continuous service.  It received its charter on October 13, 1893. 

Six Tuscumbia women formed a reading circle in the fall of 1892 with the idea of forming a library.  Among them were Helen Keller’s mother, Mrs. A. H. Keller and Helen’s aunt, Mrs. J. H. Lasseter.  They named the organization “The Helen Keller Library and Literary Association” in honor of the city’s most famous daughter.

Books and bookcases were donated by the citizens of Tuscumbia and Helen Keller herself received donations of books from out-of-town friends.  Each member of the Association paid fifty cents a year for dues and took a turn as librarian without pay.  A small rental was charged for each book to help pay operating costs.  The library was open for two hours on Saturday afternoon.

The library entered the technological era in 1996 when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided the first computers and internet connections throughout the State of Alabama.  From two internet computers and dial-up connections to 15 public access computers and high-speed fiber optics, the Helen Keller Public Library has continued to grow to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the citizens of Tuscumbia and the surrounding area.

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