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Central Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, AL 35203
Visit their website at www.bham.lib.al.us.

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.

The library was later moved to City Hall, where both the structure and the collection burned in a great fire in 1925. An impressive neo-classical building of Indiana limestone was completed in 1927 and served as the central facility of the Birmingham Public Library for 57 years. To accommodate the growing collection and demand for services, a contemporary-style structure containing 133,000 square feet of floor space was completed in 1984 and connected to the original building by a crosswalk. This building houses most of the Central library's circulating and general reference collections, plus the technical services for the library system. The original 1927 building was extensively renovated in 1985 and renamed the Linn-Henley Research Library in honor of two of Birmingham's founding families. This facility houses the library's special collections, government publications, and administrative offices. Together these two buildings comprise the Central library of the Birmingham Public Library system.

From humble but hopeful beginnings in a room not much bigger than a closet, the Birmingham Public Library concluded the 20th century as one of the largest and most well-respected library systems in the southeast.