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"Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn."

Joseph Addison (From the h1scription on the Original Birmingham Public library Building)

The Birminghatn PubHc Ubrary

The Birmingham Public Library began in 1884 when the Birmingham Library Association was formed. Although the Association dissolved in 1886 due to financial difficulties, by 1891 the library was again organized. It opened its doors that year in the Enslen Building, a three-story structure that had previously served the city as a high school and, later, a hotel. Under the direction of the Birmingham Board of Education, the library charged an annual membership fee of two dollars for use of the facility. On January 1, 1903, the library moved to the fourth floor of the Birmingham City Hall. The following October, The Board of Education voted to make the public library entirely free and hired Miss Lila M. Chapman to reorganize the library. In 1909 Andrew Carnegie made a generous offer of $100,000 to the library, provided the city raised a similar amount. Unfortunately, the city could not raise its share, losing forever the Carnegie funds.

A tragic fire struck City Hall in 1925, destroying the Library's complete collection as well as many municipal records. Ironically, the attention brought to the Library by its destruction insured its future in Birmingham. In 1925, the family of philanthropist, Henry Upson Sims pledged $50,000 to the Library on the condition that a permanent fire proof structure be built. His offer was used by Library director Lloyd Josselyn to solicit other community funds for the project. The special collections of the Library began in 1926 when the Tutwiler family made a present of $50,000 for the establishment of a Southern history and literature department. Subsequently, the Rucker Agee Map Collection, the Grace Hardie Collection of Children's Literature, the James Bowron Rare Book Collection, the Collins Dance Collection, and the Scruggs Collection were added. The Library has been supported by civic leaders such as Mervyn Sterne, and his wife Dorah, David Knox McKamy, Maude Davis Robertson, the Linn-Henley Charitable Trust, and the Jefferson County Public Health Workers.

"Our library needs have grown right along with our city. This beautiful new building meets today's needs-and tomorrow's." George Stewart Director Birmingham Public Library

The Neo-Classical structure at the east end of Woodrow Wilson Park-then Capital Park-opened to the public in April 1927. It cost half-a-million dollars to construct and has served as the city's central library since 1927. The beautiful older building remains a vital part of the Birmingham Public Library, housing the archives, the audio/visual department, the Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature, and Government Documents. Today, the Library is a unique example of City/County cooperative planning. The agreement reached to provide a cohesive county-wide library system ensured that citizens throughout the entire metropolitan area are provided the best possible service.

"The importance a city places on its library system tells outsiders a lot about the people who live there. This building says Birmingham is a special place." Richard Arrington, Jr. Mayor City of Birmingham

Grand Opening Activities

Saturday, September 15, 1984 Time

Outside Building

In Building

10:00 10:45 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30 5:00 5:30

Parade Ribbon Cutting Arts & Crafts Show K105 Bike RacelHueytown Swingers Birmingham Heritage Band

Birmingham Chorale

Clowns Razz Dancers Puppet Show Foxy Fats Mimes

Red Mtn. Chamber Ensemble Southern Belle Cloggers American Recorder Society Sugar Foot Cloggers American Recorder Society Red Mountain Cloggers Magic Show

Puppet Show

Sunday, September 16, 1984 2:00 2:30 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30 5:00 5:30

Ambassadeur Brass Quintet Arts & Crafts Show Sixth Ave. Baptist Church Choir Razz Dancers The Birmingham Children's Theater Clowns, Mimes Grand Prize Drawing Floral Competition Prize










Floor Plan











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Friends of the Birmingham Public Library invite you to join the

hundreds of area residents who are already enjoying their membership in the Friends . When you become a Friend, you perform a most important service for our community. Through membership dues , the Friends provide the additional source of income needed to assure the continued growth of the Library's collections and programs . Your support will help to expand cultural and educational opportunities for Birmingham and the surrounding area. Your membership will be a peak experience in community service.

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SPECIAL EVENTS - The Library schedules activities throughout the year just for Friends including lectures, filins, presentations, concerts, preview receptions of major exhibitions. LIBRARY SHOPPING - A discount is given to Members on most items including Posters, T-Shirts, Gifts. TRAVEL PROGRAM - Each year a special tour is planned for members to sites of particular literary significance.

BOOKSALE PREVIEW - Members are allowed to select and purchase books from the Annual Booksale prior to general public availability. GREATEST BENEFIT - Your contribution as a Friend makes you an important part of the library, and gives you the opportunity to help determine library services to meet the needs in Metropolitan Birmingham. Consider Friends Membership a gift for all occasions. An attractive announcement accompanies a membership card to the recipient.

-----------------------------------Friends ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS

Individual $5.00

Family $10.00

Organization $25.00

Corporation $100.00

Name ______________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________ City _____________________________________ State ____________ Zip ________________ Telephone _______________________________ Branch Library Affiliation ______________________________________ Please make your check payable to : FRIENDS OF THE BIRMINGHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY 2100 Park Place Birmingham, Alabama 35203 For more information: (205) 226-3600


Birmingham's original central library, which was constructed in 1927, has been filled to capacity since the 1960's. In 1968, at the urging of the Library Board, voters of the City approved a $1,000,000 bond issue to acquire a site for the new building. In 1977, after acquisition of the site had been completed, voters of the City overwhelmingly approved an $8,500,000 bond issue to provide funds for the construction of a new building. The Library Board conducted a nationwide search for an architect and library consultant for the new building. After initial interviews and screening, five finalists were selected, two of which were based in Birmingham. After the presentation of proposals and visits by a committee of the Board to buildings designed by each of the five finalists, the Board selected the firm of Morris* Aubrey Architects of Houston as the lead architectural firm and the firm of KiddJPlosserlSprague/Architects/Inc. of Birmingham to serve as associate architects in connection with the project. Mr. Phillip McNiff, former Director of the Boston Public Library, was selected as the consultant for the building. The Library Board established as its initial requirement that the building be open and inviting to the public and work well functionally with the present Library Building. The Board wanted a building of contemporary design, .which would respect and complement the neo-classical architecture of the original .building. The limestone for the new building was taken from the same quarry as the limestone for the old building. The elegant simplicity of the glass curtain wall enclosing the entrance to the new building provides a dramatic backdrop to the classical architectural features of the original building. The stepped glass facade, which mirrors the setbacks in the interior floors, of the new building is designed to open the building and invite the public to become a participant in the activities which are occurring inside. This magnificant new building was made possible by the enthusiastic support of Birmingham's Mayor, its City Council and, most importantly, its people. In many aspects, it is a gift from the people of the City to themselves. The total cost of the new building, approximately $12,000,000, and planned renovations to the old building, approximately $2,000,000, will be paid from the proceeds of the 1977 bond issue and a capital grant awarded by the Alabama Public Library Service.

CORPORATE SPONSORS AmSouth Bank, N.A. EBSCO Industries First Alabama Bank Gillis, Townsend and Riley Advertising Jefferson Federal Protective Life Insurance Company Rust International Corporation SONAT FOWldations

MEDIA Artline, Pat Horlacher Birmingham Magazine, Ray Martin Crosstown WBHM Radio, Melani Berry WBMG-TV, Cathy Rye WBRC路TV, Country Boy Eddie Show The Morning Show WERC Radio, Tim Lennox WMJJ Magic 96 Radio, Ray Quinn WVTM路TV, Kids World 13 Today in Birmingham

PERFORMERS Ambassadeur Brass Quintet American Recorder Society Birmingham Children's Theater Cindi Butler, Ballerina Cousin Cliff, Magician Clowns for Hire Dulcimer Association Hueytown Swingers Ramsey Mimes Razz Dancers Red MOWltain Chamber Ensemble Red MOWltain Cloggers Southern Belle Cloggers Sugar Foot Cloggers Vasha Rosenblum, Puppeteer Sixth Avenue Baptist Church Choir

ARTISTS Adrienne Anderson Artist Sherri Gilbert Freelance Creative Services Gilbert G ra pltics Charles Glascock Artist Ann Halpern Professional Writer Debbie Hartsell Art Director Gillis, Townsent, and Riley Advertising Sally Johnson Artist Armor Keller Artist David Kassonf Little House on Linden Marilyn Wilson Gallery Spider Martin Photographer

Lynn Miller Copy Writer Gillis, Townsend, and Riley Advertising Leo Ticheli

Cinematographer Leo Ticheli Productions

"This new building is the stuff of which librarian's dreams are made."

Tony Miele Director

Alabama Public Library Service

VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE Susan Durham Account Executive WBRC路TV6 Margo Fallin Director, Youth Services American Red Cross Linda Garrard Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager EBSCO Subscription Services Deeana Harvill Public Relations Intern UAB Sharon Lovoy Training Professional American Society for Training and Development Kathie Martin Assistant Vice-President First Alabama Bancshares Helen Poynor Personnel Trainer AmSouth Bank, N.A.

Jean Reed Teacher Homewood School System

"Downtown Birmingham is growing and improving. This magnificent building is proof that our citizens believe in our city." David Herring Presidenl Birmingham City Council

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE Birmingham International Educational Film Festival Bojangles Boy Scouts of America Buffalo Rock Coca Cola Bottling Company Delta Air Lines, Inc. Destinations, Inc. Famous Amos Cookies Films, Inc. Girl Scouts of America Dorothy McDaniels Flowers Learning Corporation of America Lucerne Films McDonalds Restaurants MTIICoronet Films Phoenix/BF A Films Pulmonary Home Care Rich's Rosica, Mulhern and Associates, Inc. Dr. Gabriel Rummonds Showbiz Pizza Supreme Beverage Leo Ticheli Productions James Walker

"True gratification for our considerable efforts will be mine, if this facility is utilized to its fullest extent by the entire community." Addine D. Drew Vice-President Birmingham Library Board

Seated before a view of Birmingham's skyline is the current Birmingham Public Library Board. From left to right: Ralph Fletcher; Alan J . Drennen, Jr.; Josie O. Reid; Addine D. Drew; Don B. Long, Jr.; Geraldine W. Bell; Lucille D. Ayres; William Keister Forbes; J ames S. Goodson. Not pictured: Benn Johnson and Edward S. LaMonte.

"We wanted 8 building which reflects the importance of the library as an educational and cultural institution---ilne which serves the needs of more people than any other." Don B. Long, Jr. President Birmingham Library Board

Printing Compliments of EBSCO Subscription Services

Birmingham Public Library's Grand Opening Program  

Program produced in 1984 for the opening of Birmingham Public LIbrary's new Central building

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