The Cooper River Memorial Library is truly a community-originated and -oriented library branch. The idea of a library building in North Charleston as a memorial to World War II veterans was conceived by a North Area resident and presented to the Suburban Junior Chamber of Commerce in March 1946. The Jaycees accepted the idea with enthusiasm. A planning committee was formed and soon afterward approached the Board of the Charleston County Public Library with a proposal. The Jaycees sought to raise funds for a library building, equipment, books and land through public subscription, with the facility operated as a part of the County Public Library System. The Board met the proposal with enthusiasm and agreed to cooperate fully.

Every organization in the District and many others in the Charleston Community endorsed the Library project as presented by the Jaycees. Many individual citizens took part in the drive for funds, contributing both time and money. A house-to-house canvas and an automobile raffle were among the many money-raising projects undertaken in this outstanding community effort. Funds were also obtained from the Charleston County Legislative Delegation. Incorporation in June 1947 was quickly followed by ground breaking in January 1948 and the new building was opened for service on December 29, 1948. The library continued to grow and build its collection. In 1973, Charleston County Council approved a fifty percent enlargement in building size for the Cooper River Memorial Library and the Cooper River District memorial Library association deeded the property to the County of Charleston.

The building has undergone renovations several times, including new windows and carpet, roof repair and other cosmetic and maintenance improvements. With the closing of the nearby Naval Base, the branch is finding new roles serving this North Charleston community.

On April 27, 2021, CCPL closed the Cooper River Memorial Library to start thee process of constructing a new, larger branch at the site of the original building. Plans call for preserving some of the original building while expanding the footprint to 20,000 square feet. While construction is done on the new library, called the Keith Summey North Charleston Library, services for the Rivers Avenue area of North Charleston have been moved to a temporary library site on Cherokee Street.