History of Gulf Shores Library

The Gulf Shores Public Library is an important asset to the community. Residents and visitors alike visit the library to perform research, complete homework assignments, or simply for the pleasure of reading. The library also offers an abundance of programs and social events that are a source of enrichment and nurture a natural love of learning for the individuals that wish to partake in them.

The history of the Gulf Shores Public Library dates back to the early 1950s. The citizens of the Gulf Shores area took notice that while their community was growing they still lacked the library that is envisioned in every American close knit neighborhood. To take advantage of the opportunities a public library had to offer residents had to travel extensive distances. Understanding the need for a library of their own, Gulf Shores citizens took it upon themselves to work together to find the funds necessary to build their own public library.

Residents throughout the Gulf Shores community held many fundraisers, petitioned for local funds from local government boards, and approached major businesses throughout the area. An instrumental player in the construction of the Gulf Shores Public Library was the Friends of the Library Club. This group used their resources to help the citizens gain knowledge and connections outside of their community to fill in the financial resources that were still lacking after dedicating their time and energy to their cause extensively within the area.

The Gulf Shores Public Library opened in 1965. Once funding was established for the construction of the building residents took up collecting books and furniture from residents within the Gulf Shores community. Even though the resources were minimal in the beginning for the Gulf Shores Public Library visitors still found the addition of their own community library to be a wonderful addition. Eventually the Gulf Shores Public Library was renamed the Thomas B. Norton Library.

Today the opportunities that visitors to the library have are similar to larger cities around the United States. The library itself has grown in size and resources with the advancement and addition of modern technology equipment which has been added. Visitors enjoy the ability to have remote access to the library's online catalog system showing books that are available throughout the Baldwin County Library System. Other tools including an electronic check-out system, micro-fiche machine, printers, and more have been included. Story time for children and other regular activities are offered to individuals that wish to attend.