Avondale Regional Library

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The original Avondale Library

The Avondale Regional Branch Library (established in 1908 as the Avondale Public Library) is a regional branch of the Birmingham Public Library located at 509 40th Street South facing 5th Avenue South in Avondale Park.

The library was independently established by the Town of Avondale in 1908 with William Starbuck, Clifford Price, Mrs F. B. Daniel, S. G. Frey, Mrs E. L. Smith, George Akan, G. C. Ellis, George Garrett, Mrs Abner Hawkins and F. Elbert Smith, Jr as trustees. Hazel Hanlin was hired as the town's librarian.

The one-story building was constructed on the site of the Peyton King residence with a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation. The squat Beaux-Arts styled library was constructed of buff-colored brick with limestone trim. It opened its doors on October 1 of that year. A young Clarence Anderson was the first member and he checked out a copy of "Little Black Sambo". During the next year the library circulated 4,806 volumes to its members.

In December 1908, the library received a donation for the purchase of books from the Crescendo Literary Club. Birmingham Mayor Frank O'Brien also donated a collection of 300 books in memory of his daughter, Margaret, who had died in 1898.

The Avondale Public Library was absorbed into the Birmingham Public Library system in 1913. The library's members voted for the change, which followed the Greater Birmingham annexation which made Avondale a neighborhood of Birmingham beginning in 1910. At the time of the transfer, the library held 1,353 volumes.

In 1961 the Carnegie building was demolished and a new 5,000 square-foot building was constructed at the corner of the park. Using funds from Birmingham's 1977 bond issue the branch was expanded into a "regional library" with enhanced reference holdings and community resources. An 8,200 square foot addition designed by Giattina, Kirkwood & Partners opened in 1982. The new wing includes a spacious reading room, sunken below grade with views out to the park and its rose garden.

A 2006 renovation designed by Charles Williams & Associations included a new entrance and accessibility upgrades.

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