400 North 19th Street, Bessemer, Alabama 35020
The formation of a free public library was first organized in December 1905 by a group of women who secured the donation of the site from the Bessemer Coal and Land Company. They then lobbied for assistance from the city in seeking a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. It was established by a resolution of the Bessemer City Council as Bessemer Carnegie Library and opened its doors in September 1907 at 321 North 18th Street, a small brick structure at the corner of 18th Street and 4th Avenue.
The City of Bessemer was given the Old Post Office building at 400 North 19th Street to use for the public library in 1965. After remodeling it in 1967, the library was renamed the Bessemer Public Library and moved to that location. The previous library in Bessemer charged a fee for removing materials. The pay library donated its 500 volumes to the new public library when it opened.
In April 2000, the residents of the City of Bessemer passed an ad valor tax referendum to fund the building of a new library. In order to renovate and expand the library building, the library underwent a $4.5 million expansion from 15,600 to 43,200 square feet. Bessemer Public Library moved to a temporary site at 701 9th Avenue North in August 2001. It was only in August 2008 that the library was able to return to its new state of the art, three-tier facility.
A board of five trustees governs the Library. The Bessemer City Council appoints the trustees for four-terms. The terms should overlap so that at least one trustee is appointed or re-appointed each year. The regular meeting date for the Board is the third Thursday of each month. The Board conducts at least 6 meetings a year with a quorum of 3 or more trustees present. All meetings are open to the public.