The Odom Library was made possible by a bequest from Ellen Ashby Payne Odom. Mrs. Odom was a Trustee of the Moultrie- Colquitt County Library and very interested in genealogy. She was an accomplished musician as well as an active leader in the Georgia 4-H program.
Her interest in genealogy led to her membership in the Huguenot Society and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She coauthored two books: A History of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library and Colquitt County Confederate Soldiers.
At her death, it was revealed that she had bequeathed the proceeds of the sale of her land and home to the library for the purpose of building a genealogy library in Moultrie. Today, the Odom Library operates on the interest from her estate. The endowment is managed by a Moultrie banking firm. The Odom Library is governed by a Board of Trustees.
The October 2007 issue of the Georgia Public Library Service newsletter highlighted the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library as one of the three libraries in Georgia that reign as “the Georgia public library system’s genealogical crown jewels.” Prior to its founding in 1990, we had a small Georgia history collection — maybe 2,000 volumes.”
When Mrs. Odom’s bequest of $1 million was received, the south wing of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, which became the Odom Library, was built to house several collections, including the Emmett Lucas Collection. Mr. Lucas of Southern Historical Press was planning to retire, and he was interested in selling his collection about the southeastern United States, the Civil War and migration routes west.
In addition to these collections, the library is perhaps most famous for its collection concerning Scottish genealogy. The Odom Library is the archival home for more than 130 Scottish clan organizations, and houses many rare books including an original edition of Scottish Perrage, as well as The Highland Papers, and several Gaelic Bibles.