The Smithfield Library was established in 1956 to house the collection of the former Booker T. Washington Library. It was the first public library building in Birmingham constructed specifically for Black patrons.
The present library building has an entrance plaza facing the corner of 8th Avenue West and Center Street. It was renovated in 2015. A granite obelisk at the corner displays quotes from Richard Arrington Jr and Booker T. Washington. The branch houses a meeting room dedicated in honor of T. R. Patterson.
A proposal developed as part of the city's 2023 application for a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s CHOICE Neighborhood program included moving the library into a larger space in a "social innovation center" which would anchor the corner of the redeveloped former Smithfield Court public housing project opposite the library's current site.
- Garrison, Greg (June 20, 2023) "Smithfield Library will move as part of plan to build 1,000 new housing units." AL.com