O'Neal Library

From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The O'Neal Library (formerly the Emmet O'Neal Library) is a public library owned and operated by the City of Mountain Brook and located at 50 Oak Street in Crestline Village. It is part of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative.

The library was founded in 1965 in a building on the same site as the present library. The building was donated by the Elizabeth and Kirkman O'Neal Foundation and the library was named after Kirkman's father, former Governor Emmet O'Neal, partly in recognition of his promotion of rural libraries during his term.

The first Emmet O'Neal Library, a one-story brick clad structure with Georgian style trim and a hipped roof, was one of the first public buildings to be heated and cooled by an electric heat pump. It originally housed 8,000 volumes, but was soon enlarged with an east wing in 1966.

The present building, designed by HKW Associates, opened in 2001.

In 2020 the Mountain Brook City Council voted unanimously to shorten the name to "O'Neal Library", eliminating the association with Emmet O'Neal, an avowed white supremacist who helped draft the 1901 Alabama state constitution, while preserving its gratitude to later generations of the O'Neal family who have contributed greatly to the library.

On May 5, 2023 a pipe burst in the library's basement causing extensive flooding. While repairs were made, the library staff provided temporary services and programs from the former Friedman Center building at 3100 Overton Road, which the city had acquired in 2022 for use by the Mountain Brook Fire Department. The library reopened in Crestline Village on September 20.


External links