April 11, 1927
Birmingham’s first free-standing central library opened after a fire in April 1925 destroyed the top floor of Birmingham City Hall and most of the central library, which had been located there. Superintendent of Education John Herbert Phillips established the Birmingham Public Library in 1886, using a room next to his downtown office on Third Avenue North. The library was relocated to City Hall in 1904. The new free-standing central library operated from 1927 until 1984, when a new central library building opened across the street. The old central library was renovated and reopened in 1985 as the Linn-Henley Research Library for special collections.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
John Herbert Phillips was the superintendent of Birmingham’s public school system during the late 19th century. He established the city’s first public library in a small room next to his downtown office. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)
A 1925 fire destroyed the top floor of the Birmingham City Hall and much of the city’s library, which was housed in the building at the time. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)
Linn-Henley Research Library, 2016. (TastyPoutine, Wikipedia)
The building that housed the central Birmingham Public Library from 1927 to 1984 was renamed the Linn-Henley Research Library to honor two of the city’s founding families. The structure now houses the library’s administrative offices, as well as its government publications and special collections. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Southern Progress Inc.)
The Birmingham Public Library was founded in 1886 as a small collection attached to the city’s public school system, and has grown into a 20-branch system that holds more than 1 million books. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Justin Dubois)
Birmingham Public Library, 2010. (Digital Bookmobile, Flickr)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.