Monday, February 03, 2014

Five Points West Regional Library Celebrates Ten Years

An exhibit at Five Points West Library of photographs from every location in its 85-year history.

The Five Points West Regional Library (formerly the Central Park Library) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary at its current location. The library will host an open house to celebrate the occasion on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. The open house will be held from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The library was first established in the 1930s on the upper floor of Birmingham Fire Station No. 24. Since then it was moved to the Central Park Recreation Center, to a building on Bessemer Road, to the former Britling West cafeteria on Avenue V, and finally to its current location at the Five Points West Municipal Center.

The current library, designed by Giattina Fisher Aycock, opened in 2004. The building includes half of the old Food Fair/Zayre store building from Five Points West Shopping City which was partially demolished.

The library was home to the monumental Antelumpen sculpture, created in 1997 by sculptor Zachary Coffin. It was lent by the Birmingham Museum of Art for display at the library in 2010. Coffin's sculpture was damaged at the library site during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. It was removed from the grounds on July 1, 2011.

Historical Timeline for the Central Park/Five Points West Regional Library
1928 - The Forthian Club sponsored a one-room library in Fire Station Number 24.
1934  - The library was named the Virginia Harmon Library in honor of a founder of the
Forthian Club.
1938 - The library moved to the Central Park Community Center and became a branch of
The Birmingham Public Library.
1942 - Birmingham newspaper reported that the Central Park library circulated more
books than any other branch public library in the city.
1983 - The Five Points West regional branch opened on the site of the old Britling
Cafeteria West, completing the Library Board’s 1981 plan to build three large
Regional branches.
2004 - In January the new Five Points West Regional Branch opened on the site of an abandoned grocery store. The facility has 30,000 square feet for library materials, children’s services, computers, offices, workspace, and a 150-seat auditorium.

Among the most recent improvements at the library is the new Computer Commons. With the addition of 15 new computers purchased through an LSTA grant, Five Points West now has a total of 40 computers available for public use. The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a United States federal library grant program designed to help libraries with their technology infrastructure needs. The new computers also allow us to offer more computer classes. We are now able to offer a wider range of class times, including some afternoon courses.

With over 85 years of library service to the western area of Birmingham, the Five Points West Regional Library will continue in its commitment to serve the community. The sun continues to shine brightly on the library.

Lorraine Walker
Five Points West Library

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