After temporarily closing in fall 2013 for renovations, the Inglenook Branch Library will reopen on Thursday, May 22, with a grand reopening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. The address is 4100 40th Terrace N.
The renovations make the building not only compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but also showcase design concepts that capture the building’s fire house past and tout its important service as a neighborhood library.
The building was used as a firehouse from 1927 to 1978. In 1979, it was turned into a library. The library hasn’t seen a makeover since 1995, which is when a new roof, new carpet, a new heating and air conditioning system, and more were installed.
The 2013 renovations include:
- Part of the building’s exterior and the circulation desk are wrapped in 100-year-old reclaimed long leaf pine from an Alabama timber mill
- An updated Children’s Department with new window seats
- A new heating and air conditioning system
- A new parking lot
- An updated computer area
- A lower circulation counter to meet the needs of all patrons
Bricks surrounding interior columns were removed to open up space on the main floor. The bay window, which once served as the garage entrance for the fire truck, provides a panoramic view of new seating in a new patio area. A drop ceiling was removed to expose an overhead hose tower firefighters used to hang hoses to dry. Large amounts of sunlight now flow through new skylights in tower. A downstairs storage area was cleared out to make way for a staff break room. On the wall leading to the basement is a quote from Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero: “A library is an arsenal of liberty.’’ HOSKINS Architecture and CROSS BUILDING COMPANY handled the library project.
The Birmingham City Council approved $405,414 in library bond money to go toward renovations. The late Council President Maxine Herring Parker, whose district included Inglenook, was a big supporter of the funding and the library. She passed away on Nov. 12, 2013. Her son, Councilor William A. Parker, now represents her district. He is scheduled to attend the May 22 ceremony.
Birmingham Public Library leaders and board members, Birmingham Chief of Staff Erskine R. Faush, Jr. and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, are also slated to attend. Inglenook is one of 19 locations within the Birmingham Public Library system.