Death of the Former Director of the Birmingham Public Library
The former director of the Birmingham Public Library, Jack F. Bulow, died at his home on Thursday, August 28, 2008. Bulow served as the library director from 1993 to 2002. Before he became the director, he served as the associate director of the branch libraries and associate director of the central library. He started work at the library in 1971 as the assistant bookmobile librarian.
During Bulow’s service to the library, the library system won numerous awards for public service, including two John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards sponsored by the H. W. Wilson Company; the H. W. Wilson Foundation, and the Library Administration and Management Association, a division of the American Library Association.
Bulow spearheaded innovative programs including the bookstore model to deliver library service and one of the first books-by-mail programs to provide library materials to the home-bound. As associate director for the branch libraries, Bulow championed the branch system and replaced and renovated library buildings throughout the city. He expanded training opportunities for staff at all levels and encouraged them to continue their education.
As director, he emphasized systemwide library service and strove to offer the same service no matter what location or size of the library. His mission was, “When a patron walks in the door of any library in the city, that patron walks into the entire library system.”
He served on committees for the American Library Association and was President of the Alabama Library Association in 1994. His involvement in the community and in professional librarianship was extensive. He was instrumental in developing a closer working relationship between the Birmingham Public Library and the City of Birmingham Community Development program.
For more than thirty years, Bulow served the Library and the City and earned many accolades for his accomplishments.
• 1973 - President, Birmingham Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
• 1976 - People Helping People Citation
• 1976 - George Washington Honor Medal
• 1977 - Forestry Recognition Award, Alabama Forestry Commission
• 1982 - Who’s Who in Library and Information Services
• 1987 - Executives in Residence Program, Birmingham Southern College
• 1991 & 1992 - White House Conference on Library & Information Services
• 1992 - Leadership Birmingham
• 1994 - President, Alabama Library Association
• 1994 - Who’s Who in the South and Southwest
• 1995 - LAMP Award of Exceptional Service
• 1996 - Who’s Who in America
• 1998 - Unsung Heroes Award, City of Birmingham
• 2000 - Eminent Librarian Award, Alabama Library Association
• 2001 - Blue Ribbon Library Award, Alabama Library Association
Bulow was born June 7, 1942, in Elmira, New York. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard in the 1960s. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club. He was a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and earned his master’s degree at the University of Alabama. He is survived by his wife, June Bulow.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Birmingham Public Library Foundation’s Book Endowment Fund, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203, the Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 8th Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203, or a charity of choice.