Birmingham Public Library

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The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is the public library system for the City of Birmingham. It consists of the Birmingham Central Library and Linn-Henley Research Library downtown, as well as sixteen regional and branch libraries located throughout the city with around 285 total employees. The Birmingham Public Library is a major part of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. It is supported by the city, by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, and by the Birmingham Public Library Foundation.

The director of the Birmingham Public Library is Floyd Council, who began his term in November 2017.

History

A public library was established in the city in the mid-1880s, but did not survive as an institution. It re-opened in 1891 under the auspices of the Birmingham Board of Education, using a large room adjoining superintendent John Phillips' office in the Enslen Building. The public paid a $2 annual fee for membership.

In 1903 the library relocated to the 4th floor of Birmingham City Hall. It was made a free public library by the Birmingham Public Library Association in 1908. The Association was succeeded by a city-created Birmingham Public Library Board in 1913.

The library was destroyed in the 1925 City Hall fire. A new library building, built in part with donated funds, was opened in Woodrow Wilson Park on April 11, 1927.

After a long debate about where to construct a new library, the present Birmingham Central Library was built across 21st Street North in 1984, designed by KPS Group. The 1927 building was completely renovated and reopened in 1985 as the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Collections

The Birmingham Public Library houses numerous notable collections in its archives, including the Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature and the Rucker Agee Collection of Maps of the Southeast.

Directors

Branches

The Birmingham Public Library has the following branches:

Regional branches

Neighborhood branches

Former branches

In preparing to submit his 2011 Birmingham budget, Mayor William Bell asked Library director Renee Blalock to provide a list of five of the city's 19 branches that she could recommend for temporary closure in order to cut costs. The initial list included the Slossfield, North Avondale, East Ensley, Inglenook and Ensley branches. Blalock subsequently developed a plan to cut $900,000 from the library's budget by closing three of the branches (Slossfield, East Ensley and Inglenook), cutting part-time staff, reducing utility costs, and ending Saturday hours except at the Central library and regional branches.

References

  • Alabama Historical Association. (2001) "The Birmingham Public Library" Historical Marker. Linn Park. [1]
  • Wolfson, Hannah K. (December 26, 2009) "Main Birmingham library's map collection ancient, 'priceless'." The Birmingham News
  • Wolfson, Hannah (June 18, 2010) "Three Birmingham library branches to close by end of July." The Birmingham News
  • Williams, Roy L. (October 23, 2017) "Birmingham Public Library hires Floyd Council as executive director." The Birmingham Times

External links