2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
The Birmingham Public Library was established in 1886 as an adjunct of the city’s public schools. John Herbert Phillips, then superintendent of the public school system, set up a library in a room adjoining his office, and this particular library grew over several decades. Finally, in 1913, a public library board was established, and the City of Birmingham assumed responsibility for funding the institution.
From humble but hopeful beginnings in a room not much bigger than a closet, the Birmingham Public Library is one of the largest and most well-respected library systems in the southeast. Over the years, it has grown with the population and today serves a society diverse in interests, needs, and age. Scholars and self-learners remain drawn to the unique archival materials, the extensive genealogical materials, and the local and southern history resources, while students and other citizens expect current and broad-based reference information and up-to-date popular materials. The cooperative agreement that BPL shares with the other municipal public libraries in the county greatly increases the number of library materials available to any library member. In fact, the Jefferson County Library Cooperative is a model for how separate governments can work together to provide a public service across city boundaries.