Our History. In 1897 a group of young Summerville women formed a Chautauqua Reading Circle; from this modest beginning the Timrod Library developed. The women donated the books from their reading circle to be the nucleus of a membership library chartered April 23, 1908. Within seven years their library had a permanent home.

On land donated by the town of Summerville, Jim Cooper, a local contractor, erected the building on Central Avenue. The Timrod, the only library building in Summerville until the public library on Trolley Road was constructed in the 1970’s, opened on April 15, 1915 and continues to serve the Summerville community to this day. In 1986 an additional, much-needed room was added thanks to the generosity of Catherine Peterman Stewart, a long-time librarian, friend, and benefactor. Again local companies donated materials.


The building is located in the historic district of Summerville, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When the library was chartered, the founding group renamed the reading circle the Henry Timrod Literary and Library Society honoring the South Carolina poet who, according to unconfirmed local tradition taught here in the years before the Civil War. Because of the profound impression his wartime poetry made on civilians and soldiers alike, Henry Timrod became known as the Laureate of the Confederacy.

Holdings. Today the Timrod Library houses a collection numbering in excess of 12,000 volumes including best sellers, reference materials, audio and video tapes, and a large number of South Carolina titles. The juvenile section contains Newbery and Caldecott Award titles as well as recent South Carolina Book Award nominees and winners. New titles are added regularly.