New Birmingham Public Library board will decide the future of library closures 

 1561902185 
1644323523
Birmingham Public Library #8

Miranda Fulmore, WBHM

The Birmingham Public Library Board will swear in new board members Tuesday afternoon, making a majority of the appointees first-timers.   

“There are nine board members, six of those nine members are new appointed members, and so it’s going to be in fresh blood. It’s new energy, and we all bring a different skill set to the table,” Jordan Davis said, who at 23 years old is one of the youngest members in recent history. 

Another notable appointee is comedian Jermaine “Funnymaine” Johnson, who gained a following for his online videos on SEC football.

Over the last few years, the Birmingham Public Library has had its share of controversy. The library board hired an executive director, Floyd Council, in 2017 only to have him resign three years later after staff complaints. 

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, libraries temporarily closed, the budget was cut in half and more than 150 employees were furloughed. Most of these workers returned by the end of that year. 

Since then, the previous board president, Eunice Johnson Rogers, campaigned to close some of the library locations. Birmingham has more library branches than typical for a city of its size – that’s a legacy of having segregated libraries during the Jim Crow era. Today, some areas have three libraries within three miles of each other. Davis believes the libraries should remain open.

“Our public libraries are the only free and public spaces that we have for community members, and so they’re vital of the life of our community,” said Davis. 

Davis said it’s a balancing act for libraries to serve their neighborhoods as well as be good stewards of taxpayer money. 

There are four branches that could be closed: East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale and Titusville.  

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story falsely reported that Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had advocated for library branch closures.

 

Jefferson County health providers ‘well equipped’ for The World Games

Officials plan to treat as many people as possible at on site medical tents. They say the biggest concern is heat-related illness.

Birmingham City Council passes Woodfin’s budget untouched

Police, public works and youth programs were the biggest winners in the $517 million budget, the largest ever for the city.

Woodfin says people without homes won’t be moved from public spaces for The World Games

World Games officials clarified that anyone will be able to walk through and access public areas around venues like Railroad Park, Linn Park, Protective Stadium and the new City Walk, despite those sites being behind security parameters.

Groups oppose $725 million Alabama bond sale for building prisons

The state is expected to go to the bond market on Tuesday, to provide financing for the construction plan. That money will be added to $135 million in state funds and $400 million in pandemic relief dollars that the state already agreed to put toward the construction project.

“Expect us,” reproductive rights supporters rally across Alabama after federal abortion ruling

Alabamians took to the streets this weekend after elective abortions became a felony in the state on Friday.

More Arts and Culture Coverage