After Grace Keith retired as Director of the Fayetteville Public Library, she persuaded the Library Board to let her establish a genealogy collection in a corner of the library. Since Ms. Keith was born and raised in Washington County and was a descendant of many of the early settlers, she had been consulted frequently by people who wanted to research their family histories.
Starting in 1977 with a modest collection, she continued to add genealogical material until it became a very respectable adjunct to the library. In 1985, the Library Board named the genealogical collection in her honor just prior to her second retirement. The thriving collection outgrew the space available and moved into a larger library annex at the Dickson Street location in 1992. As the library began outgrowing all available spaces, plans commenced to build the Blair Library facility on Mountain Street. The Fayetteville Public Library moved into the Blair Library in October 2004, moving the genealogy collection into one of the most innovative library buildings in the nation. The genealogy collection continued to evolve into one of the best collections in the region, again making collection space needs critical.
The Fayetteville Public Library expansion strives for an expanded genealogy collection, along with designated meeting and technology spaces for researchers.