Council is the son of Floyd Billings and Evelyn Council. He grew up in northwest Mississippi and attended Broad Street High School, but spent summers with family in Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Illinois. He served in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist in Hanau, Germany, and has performed around the world as a tenor jazz vocalist. He earned his bachelor's degree in media communication at American College, and began studying law at Western Michigan University before switching to library science. He completed his master's at the Florida State University College of Information.
Council worked in libraries in Dallas, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee, and for the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. He was branch manager for the Dr Julia Davis African-American Research Library and Archives for the St Louis, Missouri Public Library; assistant director of public services at the District of Columbia Public Library; and regional manager for the Broward County, Florida Libraries Division.
Before coming to Birmingham, Council served as the central library administrator for the Atlanta-Fulton, Georgia County Public Library System. When he was announced as director in November 2017 he said he planned to engage residents in the process of developing a master plan to utilize the libraries as partners with schools and as community resources, and to enhance programming and service.
Many library employees expressed displeasure with Council's leadership, citing instances of harsh and humiliating conduct and an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. A survey of employees in May 2018 found very low morale. Twenty staff members, speaking through a statement delivered to the library's board by Monica King-Slater in October of that year, urged the trustees to terminate Council at the end of his one-year probationary contract. The board, however, retained him.
In September 2020 the library's appropriation from the City was drastically cut in Mayor Randall Woodfin's 2021 budget proposal due to loss of revenues due to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, during which library buildings were closed to the public. Council did not challenge the appropriation, and recommended to the Library Board that 158 of the system's 211 employees be immediately furloughed. The recommendation was approved during a contentious meeting. In October the board voted to suspend Council without pay for one month, with Janine Langston serving as interim director during that time. He returned to work in November, but then resigned on December 15.
While in Birmingham, Council also served on the board of visitors for the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, and on the board of trustees for Community Kitchens of Birmingham.
Council is divorced and has two sons, Floyd Jr and Jonathan.
Angela Fisher Hall
|Director, Birmingham Public Library
November 13, 2017–December 15, 2020
- Williams, Roy L. (October 23, 2017) "Birmingham Public Library hires Floyd Council as executive director" The Birmingham Times
- Crenshaw, Solomon Jr (December 21, 2017) "Library director Floyd Council Sr., accomplished singer, army vet, administrator, outlines master plan for BPL" The Birmingham Times
- Walburn, Jackie Romine (April 9, 2018) "All’s Not Quiet at Birmingham Public Library: Board Surveys Employees after Criticism of Director." BirminghamWatch
- Walburn, Jackie Romine (May 3, 2018) "Survey Finds Low Morale at the Library; Board Expects Another Executive Session May 8 to Discuss Executive Director" BirminghamWatch
- Prickett, Sam (October 9, 2018) "Birmingham Public Library Atmosphere 'Toxic' 'Hostile,' Employees Say. Leadership 'Not for Faint of Heart,' New Director Responds" BirminghamWatch
- Wright, Barnett (September 21, 2020) "‘Gut-wrenching’ furloughs wipe out 75% of Birmingham Library workers." The Birmingham Times
- Prickett, Sam (October 14, 2020) "Birmingham Library Executive Director Suspended Without Pay." BirminghamWatch
- Garrison, Greg (December 15, 2020) "Birmingham Public Library director resigns." The Birmingham News
- Prickett, Sam (December 15, 2020) "Birmingham Public Library Executive Director Resigns After Three Controversial Years." BirminghamWatch