History of the Library

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Benjamin RicksThe B. S. Ricks Memorial Library is owned and operated by the Yazoo Library Association (YLA). Founded in 1838 and originally started as a membership library, the YLA was chartered by the Mississippi Legislature to provide public library service to Yazoo County.

For over sixty years, the Yazoo Library was housed in many different buildings. Thankfully, in 1900, Fannie Ricks adopted the library as her cause and funded the construction of the B. S. Ricks Memorial Library. She named it in honor of her beloved late husband, General B.S. Ricks. This is the same building we use today (with a few additions).

Fannie Ricks

The library was opened to the public in 1901 and formally dedicated January 1, 1902. The Ricks Memorial Library continues to serve Yazoo County as a public library, and is the oldest public library building in continuous service in Mississippi.

Mrs. B. S. Ricks was a woman with many philanthropic interests. Aside from funding the construction of our beautiful library, she provided scholarships funding summer school programs at the University of Mississippi. Mrs. Ricks left a legacy of her generosity.

Willie Morris signing books at the libraryThe B. S. Ricks Memorial Library is designated as a Mississippi Literary Landmark in recognition of its association with author Willie Morris.

Want to learn more about the library’s history? Visit us!

For more information about local history, visit “Online Catalog, E-Books and Other Cool Stuff”

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