We describe a simple and inexpensive cellulose-derived and layer-by-layer stacked carbon fiber network electrode for capacitive deionization (CDI) of brackish water. The microstructure and chemical composition were characterized using spectroscopic and microscopic techniques; electrochemical/electrical performance was evaluated by cyclic voltammetry and 4-probe electrical conductivity and surface area by Brunauer-Emmett-Teller analysis, respectively. The desalination performance was investigated using a laboratory batch model CDI unit, under fixed applied voltage and varying salt concentrations. Electro-adsorption of NaCl on the graphite reinforced-cellulose (GrC) electrode reached equilibrium quickly (within 90 min) and the adsorbed salts were released swiftly (in 40 min) back into the solution, during reversal of applied potential. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic studies clearly illustrate that sodium and chloride ions were physisorbed on the negative and positive electrodes, respectively during electro-adsorption. This GrC electrode showed an electro-adsorption capacity of 13.1 mg/g of the electrode at a cell potential of 1.2 V, with excellent recyclability and complete regeneration. The electrode has a high tendency for removal of specific anions, such as fluoride, nitrate, chloride, and sulfate from water in the following order: Cl- > NO3- > F- > SO42-. GrC electrodes also showed resistance to biofouling with negligible biofilm formation even after 5 days of incubation in Pseudomonas putida bacterial culture. Our unique cost-effective methodology of layer-by-layer stacking of carbon nanofibers and concurrent reinforcement using graphite provides uniform conductivity throughout the electrode with fast electro-adsorption, rapid desorption, and extended reuse, making the electrode affordable for capacitive desalination of brackish water. © 2015 American Chemical Society.